Honesty & Role Models

by Kate on January 30, 2012

in Live Well

A recent study conducted by Professor Paul Whiteley at the Essex Centre, said that us Brits are more dishonest than we were in 2000.

A decade ago, 70% of people said having an affair was never justified but this dropped to just 50% in 2011. The survey also found that the proportion who said picking up money found in the street was never justified dropped from almost 40% a decade ago to less than 20%.

It is speculated that this diminishing honesty is due to the fact that we are fed on a media diet of terrible role models in the form of bankers, journalists, and footballers.

Bankers wages are in the press at the moment because RBS boss Steven Hester has today agreed to give up a £1million bonus. This man will never have to worry about the price of his weekly grocery shop, then again, I don’t think he should have to. Taking on a bank post implosion, is an incredibly difficult thing to do, which is why I’m not overly upset that Hester receives a £1.2 million a year salary.

If we’re going to talk about obscene, then let’s talk football. Chelsea’s players earn on average £68,946 per week, or £3.6 million a year. Ashley Cole’s annual wage is £5 million. This is the same Ashley Cole who last year, is reported to have taken an air riffle into work, and whilst “larking around” accidentally shot the work experience boy in the side from a distance of 5 feet. This particular air riffle is said to be the most powerful gun that can be owned without a firearms license, and not really the sort of thing to take into the workplace. If I’d taken a weapon of any kind into work, and caused a flesh wound to a colleague, serious or not, I would expect to be fired immediately. Cole apparently received a fine of £250k, which is the equivalent of around 2 weeks wage.

The effect of these role models on society is something to be worried about. Professor Paul Whiteley said “If social capital is low and people are suspicious and don’t work together, those communities have worse health, worse educational performance, they are less happy and they are less economically developed and entrepreneurial. It really does have a profound effect,” he added “If integrity continues to decline in the future, then it will be very difficult to mobilise volunteers to support the Big Society initiative.”

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