What’s the -ism that portrays this outlook. This forgotten -ism is related to — BUT NOT — capitalism, corpocracy, cynicism, Marxism, misanthropy, nihilism, pessimism, socialism or skepticism. Such ideologues reckon that most things in life are greedy scams. Beneath are examples.

College is a scam.

The story of education in five scams. Master’s Degrees Are the Second Biggest Scam in Higher Education. College is a scam. College Is A Scam: The Truth Behind The Tales.

The Law-School Scam. Professor who was one of first to write about the 'law school scam' brings Title VII claim.

Consumer Watchdog: Overdraft ‘protection’ is banking’s greatest scam

"Customers are prey to me," says the teller. "I will do anything I can to make my [sales] goal."

"It took me a while to figure this out but when [bankers] say 'leader' they mean 'predator'. Senior bankers called themselves 'top predators', like sharks or lions. This made junior bankers the dogs, very afraid of them while fighting for dominance within their own group. We were prey.

Commentary: Healthcare system in the US is a scam .

How to get rid of waste and fraud in U.S. health care

It’s official: Lawyer awards (at least some of them) are scams

Don’t Fall for Spammy Lawyer Awards and Rankings Submissions

Everything we love to eat is a scam.

What is Food Fraud and Why is it a Big Deal? The Great Organic-Food Fraud.

  • Nihilism, perhaps?
    – DJohnson
    Jul 3, 2023 at 0:16
  • Some would say realism ...
    – srn
    Jul 3, 2023 at 14:43

2 Answers 2


Pessimism, perhaps? This seems close to what you describe...

  • Thanks. I accept your answer for now. I am looking for a more specific term.
    – user64125
    Jul 3, 2023 at 0:07

Cynicism in its modern sense is the -ism most related to the view that other people have motives worthy of skepticism. From WP:

Cynicism is an attitude characterized by a general distrust of the motives of others. A cynic may have a general lack of faith or hope in people motivated by ambition, desire, greed, gratification, materialism, goals, and opinions that a cynic perceives as vain, unobtainable, or ultimately meaningless. The term originally derives from the ancient Greek philosophers, the Cynics, who rejected conventional goals of wealth, power, and honor. They practiced shameless nonconformity with social norms in religion, manners, housing, dress, or decency, instead advocating the pursuit of virtue in accordance with a simple and natural way of life.

This is different, however, from the original philosophy of the cynics, and the two uses of the term shouldn't be confused.

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