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A wealth of empathy in the poor and the poor empathy of the wealthy.

I came across this article recently and thought of a simple thought experiment that explains using a simple appeal to resource constraints and energy conservation why i is so.

It makes perfect sense that empathy would work this way, a thought experiment in which one starts with a group and the necessity to share available resources in short supply (food,water..etc.) reveals it. Now take away one individual after another from the group while keeping the resource supply fixed, as the number of individuals goes down the necessity, nay even the *thought* of sharing reduces in scope. As the available supply of the still limited resource to the lower number of individuals actually goes UP anyway. Eventually, removing the n - (n - 1) th user leaves one person with all the resources and zero ability to even express empathy (as the resources are all theirs to hoard). Running the mental program of "I need to figure out how we will share this" when there are individuals around is done out of the simple fact that NOT doing so can be dangerous. So each agent chooses the option that is optimal from each of their perspective and that is to share/express empathy for the plight of those with him they are bottled up and really have no choice but to share. Larger numbers of people only strengthen the urge as where one could fight off one or two aberrant sharing would not be possible with 100. So the tendency to be empathic is actually normalized by greater numbers need to share the limited resource pool. The opposite is true for those that have virtually unlimited resource by virtue of their wealth and running the empathy program becomes energy non conservative so it is not executed.


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