11:07 Gulf News: The first statement to be debated is: Rich people fail to appreciate the consequences of their actions

11:08 Fatima Khan: I agree and without generalising, some rich people do suffer from a condition now termed as affluenza but long recognised as any other psychological condition. It gives them a sense of immunity. We all know the proverb ‘Might is Right’ and this is exactly what gives rise to this feel of immunity. There are infinite examples of where wrongs acts committed by rich are quietly brushed under the proverbial carpet whereas any other person may face dire consequences for the same act. The debate may spiral out into all reasons from bribery to corruption to upbringing but the point that remains is that rich people fail to appreciate the consequences of their actions.

11:09 Bhernel Rejoso: I agree that rich people fail to appreciate the consequence of their actions. I believe money is a powerful tool to change consequences of their actions. In my opinion everybody is protecting their name by reputation and they will use all resources to maintain it, no matter what the cost is. Nowadays money can buy almost everything.

11:09 Sherouk Zakaria: I disagree with the statement that rich people fail to appreciate their actions. This is a hasty generalisation to say that a specific segment of the society got this trait; it really depends on the way people are raised and their personalities.

11:11 Rayan El Moghrabi: I agree that it is common with a lot of wealthy people. However, there are more variables than wealth that cause this, such as upbringing and environment. Regardless of the presence of this “condition” or not, they should be treated like any regular person in order for them to really get out of it.

11:12 Gulf News: If children are unaware of the consequences of their actions it is due to bad parenting, not ‘affluenza’.

11:13 Fatima Khan: I am neutral on this statement. One factor alone cannot be blamed; it is a combination of many. At times, rich parents are law abiding and humble people but something goes wrong. Influence of media, lack of time spent with parents, lack of parental guidance and peer pressure leads children to walk down the path of irresponsibility. At other times, it is also that only one among two or three siblings is irresponsible while the equally rich brother or sister is a responsible person.

11:16 Rayan El Moghrabi: I believe that parenting plays a big role in how children behave, but again it is only one of many factors. There could be good parenting in a horrible environment and children would go along with the behaviours of the social group they belong to. Wealthy parents need to be very careful of this as in the end their child is their responsibility. If they are not sure how to prevent this, they can seek professional help.

11:16 Bhernel Rejoso: I agree that bad parenting is the cost to children being unaware of the consequences of their actions and not affluenza. If all parents practice good and fair parenting habits, then, we can lessen or eliminate crimes, threats and bad habits in society. We could all contribute to positive growth and development.

11:17 Sherouk Zakaria: I agree that it all depends on parenting and not affluenza. It was actually reported by the American Psychiatric Association that affluenza is not even recognized as a diagnosis and the author of the book ‘Affluenza’, claimed to be making a social criticism rather than a psychiatric case. Affluenza does not exist, it’s only a social issue that society has created, which in turn, will increase inequality. The way children are raised plays an important role.

11:18 Gulf News: Your character determines your actions, not your financial status.

11:18 Fatima Khan: I agree as people have proved that it is character and not any other entity such as education or financial status that determine one’s actions.

11:20 Bhernel Rejoso: I agree that character is determined by actions. People know you from the way you bond with people, treat people and the way that you socialise with others. Financial status helps you meet more influential people in society. We could have a lot of good friends due to our actions and could possibly know more people if we have the financial status.

11:21 Sherouk Zakaria: I agree and as I said before, financial status does not define who you are. If you are spoiled, you will remain that whether you’re rich or poor. There are some poor people who rebel against society and they don’t recognise the consequences of their actions. Similarly, there are rich people who misuse wealth and power. Personality is an important factor that determines your behaviour.

11:21 Rayan El Moghrabi: I also agree that character is a key factor and as Fatima mentioned earlier, you can have siblings with the same lifestyle and environment, yet still they turn out very different. Let’s also not forget that these characters may still behave differently if they were not in these situations and were not as wealthy.

11:26 Sherouk Zakaria: I just find it very disappointing to have rich people committing crimes in the name of a disease that doesn’t scientifically exist. If we allow this to go further, we would expect crime rates to increase for the reason that you have so much money that you can do whatever you want. If we really want a world of equality and without any form of discrimination, then we should practice justice and give every party what they deserve regardless of their financial background. Otherwise, we’re only proving that if you have money, you’re on the top. With that in mind, we are increasing our materialistic culture and outlook to the world and that is very unfortunate.

11:27 Fatima Khan: It is the society that dictates the rules. When a person sees that the rich are not held accountable or that money can solve almost every problem under the sun, no matter what the parents teach, it may be easy for the children to be misguided. This is very crucial, especially now when children spend more time outside than with their parents. Hence, it is necessary that society as a whole teaches the right value system to children from their foundation years. We have all been raised with a basic system that has taught us to use golden words, be honest and say good things or keep silent but all of us morphed into different adults. So, let’s fight affluenza with character correction.

11:27 Rayan El Moghrabi: In conclusion, I think that the law and society needs to stop giving affluenza any attention or consideration. Bad environments, parenting, influences and so on, happen in every social class, so, there should not be anything special about financial status. Also, if we believe that these people do not understand the consequences of heir actions, then we should show them exactly what their ill behaviour brings them. Maybe in the future they will make better decisions since they would know that being wealthy does not give you special treatment.


— Compiled by Donia Jenabzadeh/She is a trainee with Gulf News