Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Narcissism and Collective Action

I read ”The Narcissism Epidemic” by Jean Twenge and Keith Campbell who describe the increasing trend of narcissism in our society. The way children are raised, being special, being a princess, getting everything they want, lead to serious long term changes in behavior. Being used to get a lot of little effort does not help solving complex problems our society is facing. They also refer to some studies performed by Campbell et al. that studied the effect of narcissism on decisions in commons dilemma experiments. They found that higher levels of extraction of the common resource relates to higher scores on the narcissism scale.

                In order to address major problems in our society we may have to look into the way our children are raised. Although everybody is special, there are limits to entitlement. The cultural trend that you can get what you want without much effort will reduce the level of voluntary contributions to the public good, while more is needed. Hopefully the current financial crisis will act as a wake-up call one day for those who wonder why they cannot get cheap credit anymore.