When I see people manipulate and profit from this kind of scare tactic, I think about Mr. Potter buying up everything during the bank run in "It's a Wonderful Life". They want to come across as sacrificing for the everyone else's benefit, but their magnanimous appearance is purely a facade meant to line their pockets from the panic of the general public.
Fear can make people do things that they would not normally do. It is a strong motivator that can lead to poverty and captivity. The reason the rich just keep getting richer is because they are driven by well thought out plans and not their feelings. If you want to get ahead in life, make your plan, work your plan, and do not let emotion deter you from your plan.