Mathew Crawford points out an interesting anomaly, and asks some interesting questions.
Psychopaths are rare people who neither feel empathy toward their fellow humans, nor care about societal norms ... Most people know the chilling tales of the psychopaths most talked about in Seabrook's article---the 15 to 20 percent of males in the prison population ... What most people understand less is how the same deviation of human psychology found perhaps 20 times as often among the hardest criminals coincides with perhaps similar proportions of corporate CEOs, lawyers, and media professionals.
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Why would roughly 4% to 12% of CEOs be psychopaths (I've seen as high as 20% claimed, implying psychopaths might be statistically around 25 times as likely to become CEOs)? What is it about the human condition, or this era of civilization, that pushes the most potentially destructive people to the top of decision-making hierarchies? Is there some process inherent in the machinations of life on Earth that allows for this, and that we can deconstruct in order to prosper in a new era of happier, healthier, and less existentially dangerous living? Is there a way to decentralize power so as to limit the damage psychopaths might do, or better encourage hierarchies of competence and wisdom?
There's more at the link.
Other researchers have noted the same thing as Mr. Crawford. I don't know why psychopaths would be so commonly found in the corporate world. I've met enough of them in the criminal world to be very aware of how dangerous they are, precisely because they have few or none of what we would call "human feelings". They simply don't care about other people, except for the extent to which they can use or manipulate or coerce them into doing what they want.
So - how about it, readers? Can any of you suggest why psychopaths might be more commonly found among business leaders than in the general population? Is it all about power, or are there ulterior motives? Have at it in Comments.