Our Gemara on Amud Beis quotes a Mishna (Peah 7:5) that discusses a dispute between Rabbi Yehuda and Rabbi Meir regarding the permissibility of thinning out the vines from the part of the vineyard set aside for the poor:
One who is thinning out vines, just as he may thin out in that which belongs to him, so too he may thin out in that which belongs to the poor, these are the words of Rabbi Judah. Rabbi Meir says: in that which belongs to him, he is permitted, but he is not permitted in that which belongs to the poor.
According to the Tiferes Yisrael, the dispute centers around if we can assume that the poor person would appreciate a thinning out of the vineyard that will cause a short term loss, but lead to a more productive future, or not. From the context of the Mishna it’s clear that a typical owner would thin out the vines as it ultimately helps yield a superior grape.
What we have here is the psychology of the rich versus the poor. The poor often remain impoverished because they are driven out of practical necessity, sometimes an impoverished mentality, and choose smaller short term gain over long term profit. People who are worried about meeting their basic safety needs are less able to make wise choices that require long term planning and delay of gratification. The Gemara (Bava Kama 92a) remarks, בתר עניא אזלא עניותא Poverty follows the poor.
The famous Stanford Marshmallow experiment illustrates this pattern of human behavior on a number of fronts. According to Wikipedia:
The Stanford marshmallow experiment was a study on delayed gratification in 1972 led by psychologist Walter Mischel, a professor at Stanford University. In this study, a child was offered a choice between one small but immediate reward, or two small rewards if they waited for a period of time. During this time, the researcher left the room for about 15 minutes and then returned. The reward was either a marshmallow or pretzel stick, depending on the child's preference.
In follow-up studies, the researchers found that children who were able to wait longer for the preferred rewards tended to have better life outcomes, as measured by SAT scores, educational attainment, body mass index (BMI), and other life measures.
A replication attempt with a sample from a more diverse population, over 10 times larger than the original study, showed only half the effect of the original study. The replication suggested that economic background, rather than willpower, explained the other half.
So whether it is innate, upbringing, or socioeconomic status, we see that the people with less financial means tend to reach for the immediate gratification, oftentimes at the expense of their long term success.
Translations Courtesy of Sefaria, (except when, sometimes, I disagree with the translation .)