Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work; A Review

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posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 01:23 PM
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As Robert Hare, inventor of the PCL-SV and PCL-R Checklists for Psychopathy put it:

"I always said that if I wasn't studying psychopaths in prison, I'd do so at the Stock Exchange.”



According to the authors, the corporate worlds (any organizations run like corporations), are increasingly a “target-rich” environments for psychopaths for four basic reasons:

1) Some core psychopathic personality traits (“talents”) may seem attractive in job applicants and get them hired; traits such as: assertiveness; ability to appear genuine when faking sincerity and honesty; ability to quickly assess vulnerabilities of people and manipulate them; shallow affect; take-charge narcissism; and expertise manipulating through schmoozing and networking; etc;

2) Superficial notions of effective management and “leadership” (focus on hierarchy; taking charge; exercise of top-down power and decision-making but with avoidance of accountability; etc) play right into the hands of psychopaths. Typical proclivities for megalomania, malignant narcissism, manipulation, intrigue and using/treating people as mere useful objects or instruments, may appear, to those themselves not real managers or leaders, or even to fellow psychopaths, as “decisive management”; and even “leadership”. Either like attracts like, or, those lacking substance, typically, are not willing to select for substance even if they could recognize it.

3) The changing nature and structures of businesses often favor psychopaths. As businesses become less hierarchical, more lean, more complex and more flat, and as businesses have to become increasingly flexible and agile, the devolution of power and accountability—or at least accountability—to what were “lower” levels of corporations, then, in such contexts, the “take-charge”, ruthless, demanding, manipulative and apparently “results-oriented” managers, often psychopaths, appear increasingly attractive to those at the top who want power and perks but not proportionate accountability on themselves. What appear to be “take-charge”, as well as “take-the-heat” types, sometimes psychopaths, appear to be perfect for those at the very top who want power and perks but not accountability. Of course, psychopaths typically do the same to those below them.

4) In the context of increasingly lean, complex and agile businesses and other institutions, the types of individuals who are willing to ignore “cumbersome” and “constraining” rules, laws, best practices in management, and, are ruthless and devoid of empathy, coupled with abilities to con and manipulate as well as “direct”, may be attractive in some fast-paced and ultra-competitive organizations. (1)


The first half of the book does a great job of highlighting in plain language how these "snakes in suits" rise to the levels of power they have, and how it's possible that we can have a corporate and political landscape heavily populated by people who don’t seem concerned about their actions impact on the lives of other people or the planet.

Ever wonder how [insert name here] could have led the prosecution of [insert name here] while having an affair with his own congressional aide and handing divorce papers to his wife as she was recovering from cancer surgery? Or why Enron executives played the game the way they did? The answer may well be quite simple. They actually don’t give a damn about the consequences of their actions (except as they apply to themselves) ... perhaps they're psychopaths!

Now we just have to figure out how to take our corporations and political parties back from the psychopaths among us…



Links:
(3)Barnes/Noble Review
(2) MSNBC review
(1) KBOO review

[edit on 22-2-2010 by LadySkadi]




posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 01:27 PM
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This had occurred to me in the past, especially where politicians are concerned...

Hadn't really thought about Wall Street.

Of course, looking back through history, we shouldn't be surprised, should we? It's only with the advent of computers and the speed at which they can do things, that it became/becomes a very real problem. Before, time lag let society at least attempt to catch up, and mitigate to some extent, the damage done.

Good, yet scary, thread. Have a star, or two.



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 01:47 PM
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Very interesting, LadySkadi. I truly think some of these businessmen and politicians encompass characteristics of a psychopath.



Researcher Robert Hare, whose Hare Psychopathy Checklist is widely used, describes psychopaths as "intraspecies predators[3][4] who use charisma, manipulation, intimidation, sexual intercourse and violence[5][6][7] to control others and to satisfy their own needs. Lacking in conscience and empathy, they take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without guilt or remorse".

en.wikipedia.org...

However, it seems the characteristics above seem more blatant and widespread than ever before across the social spectrum. I have seen much of the material you have cited in the work world myself. Many co-workers I have dealt with would do anything to gain special favor from management, both economically and in work assignments. They would smear another, cook the books, manipulate a situation or person to their advantage, and use other shady means to come out on top. Many have the mindset that nothing is off limits or unfair as long as you don't get caught.

However, it is not just the work world, but the world in general. An honest person will get eaten up by the wolves. So, it is as though the competitive nature that is instilled in us since children, almost foments psychopathic tendencies in us all to survive. If one is not willing to act like the wolves, then they will be devoured by them. I suppose it is the law of nature? However, I agree with you, that fairness, integrity, compassion, and accountability seems very distant at the moment. As things get harder and more difficult, the more ruthless people will become to survive.

[edit on 22-2-2010 by Jakes51]



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 01:50 PM
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Great thread. I would say this phenomenon has infected most businesses and the entire workforce. There is no company loyalty going in either direction, there are few jobs with pensions, nor assurances pensions will be ever be honored and paid out. CEO's come and go thinking only of their personal success as exemplified in quarterly and annual reports, they get out when they have sucked it dry and they and their insider pals have suckered every working stiff they ever came in contact with.

They don't really care about anyone's future and they are moving fast.



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 01:57 PM
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You may be on to something Lady...








posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 02:01 PM
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Yeah, I thought this was a bit obvious by now. Psychopaths crave control/power. It's just logical that they would be attracted to roles which give them this. They are our teachers, preachers, politicians, presidents, lawyers, doctors, and on and on. No, not all of them, but a disproportionate amount for sure.

The main problem has become that those who set up the system which everyone else must play to an extent have infected us all with their psychopathic values. Their values have become our own! This is why we must work outside of their game, outside of the system and create a new order which works entirely for the people by the people. You can't fix a psychopath, just like you can't fix a system gone psychopathic!

You will probably be interested in this read as well: Political Ponerology

I read it about halfway through then misplaced it. Need to find another copy.

[edit on 22-2-2010 by unityemissions]



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 02:05 PM
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reply to post by unityemissions
 



The main problem has become that those who set up the system which everyone else must play to an extent have infected us all with their psychopathic values. Their values have become our own!


Really great point!

Also may help to explain the apathy most people feel. If one believes that is "just how the game is played" than it is understandable, though not excusable, for many to let it be...



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 02:16 PM
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Fabulous topic.

This totally explains a few happenings in my life and at the time I never put two and two together. I never really thought of psychopaths as able to really excel in the community, or beyond.
My stereotype of them blinded me. You just showed me the bigger picture.


+2 more 
posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 02:20 PM
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reply to post by LadySkadi
 


Right up my alley, LadySkadi, because I have always seen Wall Street as corrupt.

Off the top of my head a few books come to mind before I begin my lenghty reply.


Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler




Amazon Review :

This is the third and final volume of a trilogy describing the role of the American corporate socialists, otherwise known as the Wall Street financial elite or the Eastern Liberal Establishment, in three significant twentieth-century historical events: the 1917 Lenin-Trotsky Revolution in Russia, the 1933 election of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the United States, and the 1933 seizure of power by Adolf Hitler in Germany.

Each of these events introduced some variant of socialism into a major country — i.e., Bolshevik socialism in Russia, New Deal socialism in the United States, and National socialism in Germany.

Contemporary academic histories, with perhaps the sole exception of Carroll Quigley's Tragedy And Hope, ignore this evidence.

On the other hand, it is understandable that universities and research organizations, dependent on financial aid from foundations that are controlled by this same New York financial elite, would hardly want to support and to publish research on these aspects of international politics.

The bravest of trustees is unlikely to bite the hand that feeds his organization.

It is also eminently clear from the evidence in this trilogy that "public-spirited businessmen" do not journey to Washington as lobbyists and administrators in order to serve the United States.

They are in Washington to serve their own profit-maximizing interests.

Their purpose is not to further a competitive, free-market economy, but to manipulate a politicized regime, call it what you will, to their own advantage.

It is business manipulation of Hitler's accession to power in March 1933 that is the topic of Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler.


IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance Between Nazi Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation




Amazon Review :

Was IBM, "The Solutions Company," partly responsible for the Final Solution?

That's the question raised by Edwin Black's IBM and the Holocaust, the most controversial book on the subject since Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners.

Black, a son of Holocaust survivors, is less tendentiously simplistic than Goldhagen, but his thesis is no less provocative: he argues that IBM founder Thomas Watson deserved the Merit Cross (Germany's second-highest honor) awarded him by Hitler, his second-biggest customer on earth.

"IBM, primarily through its German subsidiary, made Hitler's program of Jewish destruction a technologic mission the company pursued with chilling success," writes Black.

"IBM had almost single-handedly brought modern warfare into the information age [and] virtually put the 'blitz' in the krieg."

The crucial technology was a precursor to the computer, the IBM Hollerith punch card machine, which Black glimpsed on exhibit at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, inspiring his five-year, top-secret book project.

The Hollerith was used to tabulate and alphabetize census data.

Black says the Hollerith and its punch card data ("hole 3 signified homosexual ... hole 8 designated a Jew") was indispensable in rounding up prisoners, keeping the trains fully packed and on time, tallying the deaths, and organizing the entire war effort.

Hitler's regime was fantastically, suicidally chaotic; could IBM have been the cause of its sole competence: mass-murdering civilians?

Better scholars than I must sift through and appraise Black's mountainous evidence, but clearly the assessment is overdue.

The moral argument turns on one question: How much did IBM New York know about IBM Germany's work, and when?

Black documents a scary game of brinksmanship orchestrated by IBM chief Watson, who walked a fine line between enraging U.S. officials and infuriating Hitler.

He shamefully delayed returning the Nazi medal until forced to--and when he did return it, the Nazis almost kicked IBM and its crucial machines out of Germany.

(Hitler was prone to self-defeating decisions, as demonstrated in How Hitler Could Have Won World War II.)

Black has created a must-read work of history.

But it's also a fascinating business book examining the colliding influences of personality, morality, and cold strategic calculation.

--Tim Appelo


The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve




Amazon Review :

"A superb analysis deserving serious attention by all Americans.

Be prepared for one heck of a journey through time and mind."

Ron Paul

Publisher/Editor, Ron Paul Report

Member, House Banking Committee

"What every American needs to know about central bank power. A gripping adventure into the secret world of the international banking cartel."

Mark Thornton

Asst. Professor of Economics, Auburn Univ.

Coordinator Academic Affairs,

Ludwig von Mises Institute

"A magnificent accomplishment - a train load of heavy history, organized so well and written in such a relaxed and easy style that it captivated me.

I hated to put it down."

Dan Smoot

Publisher/Editor, Dan Smoot Report -- Publisher/Editor, Dan Smoot Report


Wall Street has always been a focal point for history because it is where the big dogs play, those power elite families that end up powering our country into war, famine, and economic crashes, and those three books alone are an eye opener in just how corrupt the elite who trade on the floor of Wall Street are, those proverbial snakes in suits.

Just after the end of WWII the O.S.S. being crippled by Truman found it's power in manipulating, blackmailing, and sidestepping Congressional and Executive Branch controls, to get re-opened into the C.I.A., this has been well documented.

The reason?

Because those running the O.S.S. found out how just nice and cozy those bastards on Wall Street were to the Adolph Hitler, and just how he got funded to get into power to begin with, through Wall Street, and how he found the Jews, through I.B.M., among other businesses, and the elimination of them was brought to fruition because of these secret deals and back-alley actions.

Wall Street's hands are dirty, filthy, and despicably bloody not only from WWII though.

More often than they are the direct reason behind our financial woes because of short-selling, selling of airline stocks like on 9/11, and other highly questionable actions.

The Great Depression would never have happened if not for Wall Street and the smooth criminals who do the things they do behind the scenes, the snake-oil salesmen.

That the governing body over the Stock Exchange is the S.E.C. makes little to no difference.


Quote from : Wikipedia : U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (commonly known as the SEC, except in the Southern United States, where the SEC usually means the Southeastern Conference) is an independent agency of the United States government which holds primary responsibility for enforcing the federal securities laws and regulating the securities industry, the nation's stock and options exchanges, and other electronic securities markets.

The SEC was created by section 4 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (now codified as 15 U.S.C. § 78d and commonly referred to as the 1934 Act).

In addition to the 1934 Act that created it, the SEC enforces the Securities Act of 1933, the Trust Indenture Act of 1939, the Investment Company Act of 1940, the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and other statutes.


When in bed with criminals, criminals will let criminals act, will they not?

Just wait until you find out by reading those three books that the criminal actions are still being pulled off to this day, without our consent, or that they have broken it down to such a convoluted and compartmentalized degree, most people do not see it.

I am speaking about a program born through Nazi Germany, taken up through I.B.M., and continued to this day as the bio-chipping which is coming sooner than most think.



Don't believe me?

Fine.

I've tracked it all through Wall Street and found each and every little bit and piece.

You should go take a look at the corporation called Destron Fearing.


Quote from : Destron Fearing

Destron Fearing is a global leader in innovative animal identification. With presence in over 40 countries worldwide we seek to provide real world ID solutions to match the ever increasing complexity and opportunities related to animal identification. Since 1945 we have provided innovative products addressing the needs of livestock producers, companion animal owners, horse owners, wildlife managers and government agencies.


Don't be a sheeple or cattle, know the truth, follow the money.




posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 02:20 PM
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reply to post by LadySkadi
 


Exactly. It's unconscionable to partake in evil in any way! We're apathetic because deep down we know we're doing wrong every day. It's our conscience that gives meaning to life, and internal joy, external compassion to the worlds inhabitants. One day that voice which has been slowly growing in strength will burst out of us all in the form of spirit. One day we'll all be in the know.

It's been hard for the intelligent and wise, because the majority haven't listened. We watched as our rights were taken away. We watched as people were fooled into slavery via various means. Now, out of necessity, the average joe is waking up. It's not quite to the point where people are seeing the forrest through the trees, but at least they're trying! They're just several steps behind is all. It'll still take a while before people can transcend their differences (partisanship, race, etc.) and unite for the common good of all people. One day the game will be up, and the day will be ours


[edit on 22-2-2010 by unityemissions]



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 02:29 PM
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reply to post by Jakes51
 


However, it is not just the work world, but the world in general. An honest person will get eaten up by the wolves. So, it is as though the competitive nature that is instilled in us since children, almost foments psychopathic tendencies in us all to survive. If one is not willing to act like the wolves, then they will be devoured by them. I suppose it is the law of nature? However, I agree with you, that fairness, integrity, compassion, and accountability seems very distant at the moment. As things get harder and more difficult, the more ruthless people will become to survive.


A true and telling observation, Jakes51. It is a message worth a good deal of thought. I do believe competition and striving for excellence, challenging self and others, etc. to be good and necessary attributes and of course integrity, compassion and accountability (as you mentioned) but is it not possible to have all of these traits? Or, must one sacrifice them to be one of the gang? Depends on how much power one wants, I presume. One doesn't acquire power by being a "nice guy" in most cases.



[edit on 22-2-2010 by LadySkadi]



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 02:40 PM
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reply to post by LadySkadi
 


Of course you can have them all. The question is intent. Do you intend to get ahead by any means necessary, or by the merit of your work and value? If you're willing to corrupt your morals, you're willing to corrupt your heart. The difference of a psychopath is that they have no true morals. It never developed.

Darwinian socialism is err. Same goes for Nash's game theories. Nash was a paranoid schizo, and his work shows signs of this. People are by nature social creatures. We have learned the value of things like compassion & altruism. It's a matter of perspective. Psychopaths are much like everyone else in that their main instinct is to survive. The difference comes from scope of vision. They lack the ability to see their selves in others. To truly feel them selves through others. This being the case, their sense of survival is always limited to their selves. Most everyone else expands their sense of self to include family, friends, and perhaps all of humanity, and all of life itself. This is where our higher emotions come from.



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 04:29 PM
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reply to post by SpartanKingLeonidas
 



Wall Street's hands are dirty, filthy, and despicably bloody not only from WWII though.

More often than they are the direct reason behind our financial woes because of short-selling, selling of airline stocks like on 9/11, and other highly questionable actions.

The Great Depression would never have happened if not for Wall Street and the smooth criminals who do the things they do behind the scenes, the snake-oil salesmen.

That the governing body over the Stock Exchange is the S.E.C. makes little to no difference.


Yes, I've no doubt. Ironic that the the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 was implemented after Enron's activities were discovered, no? and my favorite.... Arthur Anderson (the accounting firm) allowing Enron to do as they wished and than writing the rules to follow the actions, thus leading to the Act... though had the SEC been doing it's job in the first place, could not have happened.


When in bed with criminals, criminals will let criminals act, will they not?

Just wait until you find out by reading those three books that the criminal actions are still being pulled off to this day, without our consent, or that they have broken it down to such a convoluted and compartmentalized degree, most people do not see it.


Absolutely. It's in their best interests to do so... not the public mind you...




posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 04:37 PM
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Originally posted by LadySkadi
Yes, I've no doubt. Ironic that the the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 was implemented after Enron's activities were discovered, no? and my favorite.... Arthur Anderson (the accounting firm) allowing Enron to do as they wished and than writing the rules to follow the actions, thus leading to the Act... though had the SEC been doing it's job in the first place, could not have happened.

Absolutely. It's in their best interests to do so... not the public mind you...



Oh, of course it's not in the public's interest, but most people ignore it.

They let their Portfolio Manager run their lives and are oblivious to it.

I have an E*Trade account and learned as I both succeeded and failed.

As for Enron, a funny look at how exactly this crap affect us, is this movie.

Fun With Dick And Jane


If it were not for the fact that it is true to some extent this movie would have been funnier.

Corporations are just as guilty of the crimes as their C.E.O.'s sometimes.

It just depends on how much is compartmentalized and how much is told to the public.



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 04:43 PM
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While I do not disagree with the overall assessment, I do have one bone of contention. Psychopaths do not generally think they are "evil" people. They lack a developed since of right and wrong. I think many of them simply cannot distinguish between what is and is not an appropriate action. i think it would useless to walk up to one of these people and tell them what they are doing is "evil". they simply cannot understand that concept.



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 04:47 PM
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reply to post by antonia
 


Hi Antonia,
I would agree with you. That is actually, part of the thrust of this book. The idea that people with these tendencies would gravitate towards positions in business and politics for the environment and benefits it provides for them based on what is important to one's self and without the inhibitions of considering the overall or greater picture. Not that it can't be considered, but that it does not matter...



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 04:58 PM
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I have to wonder how much leadership we'd have left if we started locking psychopaths up. I can tell you a lot of entertainment personalities would be gone. I met so many psychopaths and sociopaths while working in music. The entertainment industry tends to attract needy, unstable or downright insane people though.



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 05:02 PM
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I realized this a while ago, there's a documentary called The Corporation that touches on maybe not the exact same issue, but it's closely related, basically it sets out to diagnose corporations with the same characteristics psychopaths display.

en.wikipedia.org...

Don't really have anything else to add, except good thread, starred and flagged.


Edit: Oh yeah, I forgot to add.. that I think sociopathic behaviour is on the rise because normal people are forced to adapt to that type of behaviour just to compete with the guiltless psychopaths.

[edit on 22-2-2010 by TheLaughingGod]



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 05:06 PM
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There have been times in my life that I've envied these kinds of people.
What is it like to go through life without regret? Without remorse?
Not caring if your actions have harmed others?

I know I'm better off having a functional moral compass, but sometimes I wish (only a little) that I didn't care.



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 06:24 PM
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reply to post by Angus123
 


I think we all probably feel like that now and again. For sure, I'm always being told to "look out for number 1 first" and on most days, I'm able to balance that need with consideration of others and to aim for a win-win situation (remember the 7 habits?) Doesn't always work out, though. But, as someone mentioned above, it's intent that makes a big difference...





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