When Steve Jobs passed away there was a worldwide outpouring of grief. The IPhone he created is adored by millions of loyal fans who would never consider switching to a different type of phone. And never along the way did the mainstream media question whether Steve Jobs “deserved” the fortune he made creating Apple.
Every election cycle though political discourse is filled with challenges that investment bankers and other workers on Wall Street earn an undeserved wage. That Wall Street bonuses are some how proof of theft or money laundering, whereas the bonus Steve Jobs paid himself each year was never questioned. Rick Kelo points out this is an easy phenomenon to understand.
“We humans have a natural prejudice to favor things we understand. Since we tinker with our IPhone and understand its tangible value we’re sad when Steve Jobs passes away. The value we receive from financial instruments that we don’t understand is intangible and not something we interact with daily. So there does tend to, rightly or wrongly, be a predisposition to consider the products of these industries as less important than tangible goods.”
~ Rick A Kelo
This also implies that we should be very suspicious of politicians like Senators Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders when they build entire campaigns around criticizing the pay of Wall Street bankers. As Rick Kelo points out favoring what we know more than what we don’t know is a natural human prejudice. Politicians know this, and someone who intentionally exploits populist prejudice should be viewed with caution.