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while the people at the top of the social hierarchy (for the most part) who could not, or would not, do the “lowly task” to manipulate information to master machines became “CEOs” and “VP of Sales”
The current clinical explanation of "sociopaths" is that their set of "mirror neurons" is not working correctly or not working at all. Humans (and all other primates) have these mirror neurons and what they do is to form an "inner picture" of what is going on outside. A very simple expample of how this works is the fact that yawning is infectuous. But it doesn't stop there: humans actually feel inside themselves what the effect of what they do to others is. This (and not laws) is what makes most of us society-compatible at large: imagine you would be guaranteed to get away with it: would you kill an elder woman to get her money? Most of us answer this with a resounding "no", despite the stipulation that it wouldn't be punished at all. We simply cannot do it because we would feel what it is we are doing to her.
Well: most of us. In some of us this apparatus doesn't work so well (or even not at all) and these people are not always muttering idiots in some asylum but sometimes they are functioning quite well inside our society.
Psychology now has developed a questionnaire of about 100 questions and they claim to be able to find out any sociopathic streaks in people from the answers given. It happened, that someone did an experiment: they compiled a list of about 500 (in the end irrrelevant) questions and mixed into it the 100 questions of the sociopath-questionnaire. Then they sent that to leaders of big companies: CEOs of big national and multinational organisations, trusts and similar.
Guess what: about 80% of these highly regarded managers were outright sociopaths. (and by the way: they did the same test with long-time inmates in jails: these fared significantly better). But it is only logical: these people are able to do things to others that "normal" people wouldn't be able to do. And you don't need to search for these people either: the clever ones under them will do everything to barge out of the way anyone with even a little more respect for or awareness of others and their needs.
If you are ever offered a position of great influence and you wonder if you owe society more than just taxes - don't think any further! While you contemplate this there already sits someone who is not impeded by any such thoughts whatsoever. Someone with an absolutely sharp-edged catalogue of priorities and no restraints to do anything if it helps his goals.
The way big business works: no conscience! There are lawyers, yes, but conscience? Will it raise the stock value? There is your answer...