Dan Ariely: The Corruption Experiment


Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/01/30/dan-ariely-the-corruption-exp.html


Well, there goes any semblance of propriety in the US…


There was some left?


No, there isn’t any left.


There was a little bit left in an envelope, but someone stole it.


Whoever stole it left it in my mailbox. It’s with my other “to shred” mail. I’ll find it some day.


Yeah, I heard about that…


Ariely has been the goto source on academic cheating for years, and 5 years ago published an influential book on lying. I couldn’t study what he does, I’d be depressed all the damn time. Even just reading about his latest work always puts a damper on my day.


There is also if you believe in X so much, why don’t you Y? which seems to come from the right a lot and is designed to shut down progressives proposing some kind of collective action. This to me seems to ignore the fact that people will join in and help as long as they don’t feel like they are the only generous sucker trying to make a difference.

So a climate of corruption makes people not want to be taken advantage of by being the only “good” one, but they will join the other side if they see it is “safe” to not just look after their own self-interests.


So a college kid in a labcoat says “give me three and I’ll give you $40.” This is a test of moral integrity? When you know full well you’re playing a game in a lab, and one of the researchers offers you more money? Even if he’s a pretty good actor, he’s still a kid in a labcoat.

I think a lot less than 90% would steal in their daily life, even if the President himself said it’s okay. I expect the identity of the victim makes a big difference too. If somebody would steal from ExxonMobil, does that imply they would also steal from their own daughter?


Everyone wants to feel nostalgic for Obama’s tenure as president, and we all want to go back to that kind of moral compass, but I have to wonder if Trump could have gotten into so much mischief if those crooked bankers had gotten some prison time instead of bonuses.


Yeah, the banksters going scot free wasn’t just rubbing the 99%'s nose in a turd sandwich, it was a huge green light to all kinds of high-end bastardry.


“Nothing is more contagious than sin.”

Spiritual Front - Jesus Died in Las Vegas


are office supplies part of the informal employer/employee agreement or is it stealing?


I didn’t realise there was, unil it disappeared.


Depends on whether you can credibly claim to do some “working at home”. Many can claim it…


And that there, people, is your classic boiled frog.

(Edited to add - not a personal comment on Kimmo - more a summary of the situation described by Kimmo’s post)


Yeah…for me that gets at the whole huge underlying thing of how we create an “us” vs a “them” in our minds. It seems like most of us wouldn’t steal from people who we see as being “like us.” But on what criteria do we decide who is like us and who isn’t? And who is different enough from us that we allow ourselves to decide that it’s okay to steal from them? Big questions worth looking at.


I think there’s also an element of feelings of fairness. If the researcher offers you corrupt options, it becomes entirely clear that everyone else is doing it, and you feel you would be missing out. You want what is fairly yours (because everyone else got it), so you participate in the corruption. (See that experiment on fairness with the monkeys and the fruit vs cucumber).

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