[Paleopsych] sociopaths in business

Todd I. Stark thrst4knw at aol.com
Wed Nov 16 15:08:04 UTC 2005

Frank posted this article a while back, it seems relevant to the current 
discussion since it offers a rationale for how and when psychopaths 
influence culture.


Evil lurks at the top? MD urges screening CEOs for psychopaths
Thursday, August 29, 2002


ST.JOHN'S,   Nfld.  --  A  leading  expert  on  psychopaths  said  the
heartbreak,  chaos  and  economic slump caused by corporate corruption
could be avoided if prospective CEOs were screened for psychopathy.

Saying  he was ill at ease with many of North America's top executives
who  are  currently under fire for misleading shareholders and milking
hundreds  of millions of dollars in company cash, Dr. Robert Hare said
corporate North America is likely rife with psychopaths.

Hare,  whose psychopathic checklist diagnostic tool is used around the
world,  said  ruthless psychopaths who have managed to hide their true
nature because of a privileged upbringing can commit their crimes with
impunity in the business world.


While  he  stressed  that  many  thieves  and  fraud  artists  are not
psychopaths,  Hare  said  when executives take hundreds of millions of
other  people's  cash  "blatantly and with malicious forethought" they
fit the psychopathic mould.

"Many  people  will  lose  their  life  savings.  Some will have heart
attacks,  commit  suicide.  If  they are not psychopaths, they sure as
hell are not model citizens," he said.

Hare said psychopaths typically "eat up" interviewers and head hunters
who scrutinize CEO candidates.

"For your average psychopath, it's no problem at all."

He  said  screening  CEOs  and financiers who handle millions could be
easily done.

"You  would  check into his family background. He is what he is in all
domains -- a rule breaker. The rules don't apply."

Hare said companies are more at risk in today's tough economy.

"That's  when the psychopath moves in ... where there is chaos and the
rules  no  longer apply. Enter the psychopath ... saying: I've got the

Hare  gave the analogy of psychopaths who rise to power whenever there
is  chaos in political structures, noting African warlords, the former
Yugoslavia and Nazi Germany.

Steve Hovland wrote on 11/15/2005, 6:41 PM:

 > I can't remember the name of the book, but some time
 > ago some people wrote a book claiming that our child-
 > rearing practices were creating an increased number
 > of sociopaths- empathy impaired.  When I think about
 > children killing children these days, I think they
 > were right.
 > So I think the supply has changed and the rules
 > have chained as well.  Those of us who don't like
 > Bush may want to reflect on the idea that he
 > represents a composite portrait of the American
 > psyche.
 > Steve
 > -----Original Message-----
 > From: paleopsych-bounces at paleopsych.org
 > [mailto:paleopsych-bounces at paleopsych.org]On Behalf Of Michael
 > Christopher
 > Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2005 11:34 AM
 > To: paleopsych at paleopsych.org
 > Subject: [Paleopsych] sociopaths in business
 > Frank says:
 > >>But how did it come to pass that "greedy
 > psychotics" took over the business world?<<
 > --If it's true that sociopaths have had an advantage
 > in any field, it would likely have been due to an
 > ability to "play the game" better, to manipulate
 > social networks more effectively than those who
 > concentrated on ability or ethics. And strategies that
 > get results tend to spread throughout a culture,
 > regardless of whether those strategies are ecological
 > or predatory. If it undermines long term stability,
 > that's just the outcome of everyone's short term
 > decisions.
 > >>More seriously, what is there about the
 > *current* rules of business that result in "greedy
 > psychotics" taking over? Have the rules changed? Has
 > the supply of "greedy psychotics" increased? If so,
 > why?<<
 > --It's possible that sociopaths eventually learn to
 > exploit *any* social system, if everyone else falls
 > asleep or is too busy focusing on personal advantage.
 > Perhaps sociopaths exploit everyone else's minor
 > flaws. It may not be the official rules that are the
 > problem, but rather the unofficial culture, the web of
 > personal connections and communication styles. As I
 > said, I have no reason to believe the problem is
 > confined to business, since I've seen groups with
 > little power or money fall under the same spell.
 > >>I urge you to always think about processes and
 > the rules governing those processes.<<
 > --Good advice. The faces change, but the underlying
 > processes remain.
 > Michael
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