New Study: Resentment is What Drives People to Hate Capitalism

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If you listen to Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the rest of the socialist fruitcakes trying to undo America, the problem with free-market capitalism is that it just isn’t fair. It forces people into a kind of Western caste system where the hopes of breaking out of your financial stratum are limited by your race, your sex, your circumstances, and a whole bunch of other things that are entirely out of your control. The underlying message is that socialism is a system of compassion and harmony and empathy; capitalism is a cold, uncaring system of oppression that is unworthy of our evolved human psyches.

But is that really the way opponents of capitalism feel? Compassionate? Willing to give, give, give of their own so that those less fortunate can have more?

A new study from the Cato Institute suggests that’s not the case at all. No, their study found that resentment of the successful is far more likely to drive someone to despise capitalism than some vague notion of empathy. In other words: They didn’t get theirs…so they don’t want you to have yours, either.

Writing for the Federalist, Cato Institute researcher Emily Ekins explains how she arrived at this stunning (if not altogether unpredictable) conclusion.

“Statistical tests reveal resentment of the successful has about twice the effect of compassion in predicting support for increasing top marginal tax rates, wealth redistribution, hostility to capitalism, and believing billionaires should not exist. Notably, however, compassion and resentment both equally predict support for socialism,” writes Ekins.

“Statistical tests (OLS regression) find that resentment against successful people is more influential than compassion in predicting a person’s support for raising taxes on households earning more than $200,000 a year, raising top marginal tax rates to 70 percent, and redistributing wealth from the rich to the poor,” she continues.

“This means people who agree that ‘very successful people sometimes need to be brought down a peg or two even if they’ve done nothing wrong’ were more likely to want to raise taxes on the rich than people who agree that ‘I suffer from others’ sorrows,’” Ekins explains.

Republicans have often used the “class warfare” criticism to deride Democrats who want their voters to resent and disdain the rich. Here we see that this is exactly the prime motivating factor behind their ideology. Their voters are far more interested in punishing those who have made something of their lives than they are in bringing themselves (or others) up from trying circumstances. Better to have everyone on an even (if far lower) playing field, then to raise everyone up a step – since, after all, some will grab a higher step than others.