Of Snakes and Men: Or how to crime-race to the top 1%


Even the most spiritual amongst us sooner or later realize the value of money. For most, it never seems enough, and there’s certainly no shortage of human beings dreaming to become rich. We also tend to have rather high standards when it comes to defining ‘rich’. In a recent study, Zety found out that for 71% of Americans, wealth starts at earning 200,000$+ a year.

We all know that’s not what awaits most of us, and this is why Zety decided to ask 1,000 ordinary people how far they’d be willing to go in order to get there. In terms of hours of work, 95% would be willing to work 45 hours a week while some 35% would go up to 75 hours a week. Interestingly, Baby boomers were almost twice as likely to say they weren’t prepared to work longer hours than Gen Xers (28% vs. 15%).

But this isn’t where it stops. 31% of our respondents said they’d be willing to go further. Or, in other words, to break the law.

When we asked them what sort of crimes they’d be willing to commit in the pursuit of richness, here’s what we found:

  • 77% would be happy to sell or manufacture drugs.
  • 70% would be willing to steal.
  • 66% would engage in illegal prostitution.
  • And 65% would consider threatening another person.

Furthermore, on the more worrying spectrum of things:

  • 65% answered that they would be willing to physically harm another person.
  • While another 64% would be willing to kill another person.

And, surprise, surprise—men were more willing to say they’d break the law. But out of the potential crooks, it was women who were more willing to commit the specific crimes. The only crime men were more willing to commit than women was threatening another person. So it seems it’s the ladies we’ve got to look out for!

We also found out that people were ready to set aside their convictions in order to follow the flow of money:

  • Religious beliefs were first to be trumped, as 82% were happy to set them aside.
  • When it comes to working for an employer that damages the environment or exploits workers in foreign countries, 68% would turn a blind eye for more money.
  • Perhaps surprisingly, animal slaughter proved to be the biggest red line, with over a third of people saying they wouldn’t break their ethical code regarding this.

But there’s more. We also know that lying on your resume is a good start to put you on the path to wealth. For instance, a past study from Resumelab claimed that 93% of people lie on their resume in order to rise above the competition.

Finally, our study also established that 37% of people would be willing to produce adult content to earn more, with some interesting differences between ages: younger people were much more likely to unleash their inner porn star. 47% of those aged under 40 were willing to produce adult content, compared to just 16% of those aged 55 or older. Not that theatrical sex doesn’t interest older people; it’s just that younger people are more in need of a higher income, as older Americans are much more likely to be wealthy than younger ones.

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