ALS Topic 43 - Everyone needs to cheat a little

Adelaide Lunchtime Seminar, ALS 43
Saturday, September 14, 2019 11 am to 1:30 PM (end time flexible)

Venue: The Rose - 31 East Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000 (Upstairs. Please buy a drink or something)

About Focus Questions: a) Please read them before you come to the meetup. Think about them so you have more than "instant opinions" to offer. b) Feel free to add more focus questions. c) THE FOCUS QUESTIONS ARE JUST A MENU TO CHOOSE FROM. From this menu we can discuss whatever seems interesting. d) Focus questions are not intended to push one viewpoint! You can adopt any position you wish. We actually like friendly disagreement - it can lead to deeper understanding.

Focus Questions

1. FOLLOWING RULES/LAWS RIGIDLY TO THE LETTER IS A FAST WAY TO LOSE FRIENDS AND RESPECT IN MOST CULTURES. WHY IS THIS? [Quote (Douglas Bader): "Rules are for the command of fools and the guidance of wise men"]

2. ROOM TO CHEAT YOUR EMPLOYER A LITTLE IS SOMETIMES SMART POLICY. WHY IS THIS? e.g. It was (is?) customary to allow workers in some British factories do some 'French orders' (private projects for friends), or even steal a few supplies.

3. WHERE'S A DECENT DIVIDING LINE IN THE LAWFUL/UNLAWFUL DILEMMA?

4. SOME INDIVIDUALS FOLLOW A REGIME OF FAIRLY STRICT SELF DISCIPLINE BUT MAY ALLOW THEMSELVES TO "CHEAT" OCCASIONALLY. OTHERS SEEK TO MINIMIZE SELF-CONTROL. WHICH WORKS BEST? When, where and for whom?

5. SHOULD CHILDREN BE TAUGHT TO BE COMPLETELY HONEST? IF SO, HOW? IF NOT, WHEN NOT?

6. WITH WRONG BEHAVIOUR WE MIGHT CUT KIDS/YOUTHS/THE INEXPERIENCED SOME SLACK. THEY ARE STILL LEARNING. SOME CULTURES OR OFFICIALS MIGHT IMPOSE HARSH PUNISHMENT. What is the best solution in this kind of situation?

7. CORRUPTION IN A SOCIETY ADVANTAGES SOME INDIVIDUALS AT THE EXPENSE OF OTHERS IN AN UNOFFICIAL WAY. ON A LARGE SCALE, THIS CORRODES SOCIETY. The economic and social failure of many countries is caused by corruption. At a personal level, are cheap, tax free "mates rates" for doing a repair job corruption? What about a $50 bill slipped to a policeman when you are stopped for speeding?

8. ACTUAL LEGAL PRACTICE OFTEN ALLOWS CORPORATIONS TO BEND THE LAW WHILE OFTEN BEING HARSH ON INDIVIDUALS. This tends to offend people's sense of natural justice. Why does it happen? What can be done about it? Examples?

9. THERE ARE ENDLESS EXAMPLES OF COMPANIES BEING CORRUPT (I have a large database of examples). IN SOME COUNTRIES BUSINESS IS IMPOSSIBLE WITHOUT CORRUPTION. ARE INDIVIDUALS JUSTIFIED IN USING CORRUPTION BY THE POWERFUL AS AN EXCUSE FOR THEIR OWN SMALL SCALE CORRUPTION?

10. RELIGIONS AND IDEOLOGIES TYPICALLY PROMOTE A MORAL CODE WHICH IS SUPPOSED TO DISCOURAGE DISHONESTY/CORRUPTION. How effective have such codes been, when, where and for whom?

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Extra Reading

Thor May (2015) "Fuzzy Degrees of Freedom – When is the Law a Burden? - Citizens, you and I, we live with the ever multiplying, ever more obscure barrage of laws and regulations which emerge from the political contest. The simple things, like not killing the bus driver, we try to get right most of the time. Beyond the clarity what Christian types call the Ten Commandments, for better or for worse we exercise our judgement as wise men and women, and hope for the best". The Passionate Skeptic website @ http://thormay.net/unwiseideas/Rules-are-for-the-command-of-fools.htm 

Thor May (2014) " Fakes, liars, cheats, deceivers, animals in the forest - Fake it 'till you make it is a much advertised nostrum. Well, anyone who is not pathologically naive and who has encountered the corporate-speak of today's urban living knows that the fake-it meme is already in the DNA of most institutional critters, large and small. The only news is that this virus might also be deployed by bus drivers and check-out girls. With this in mind, the essay takes the fake-it topic beyond some simple self-trickery sold as positive thinking, and looks at various extended mutations inside and outside of the law." The Passionate Skeptic website @ http://thormay.net/unwiseideas/FakesLiarst.htm 

Thor May (2014) "Crime without Punishment – the journey from means to ends - In the real world of events, as opposed to philosophical statements of “should”, decisions about ends and means always come down to who, if anybody, is responsible for consequences. Where consequences are not clear for actors, and especially if consequences are not personal, almost any ends can be argued for, and almost any means might be rationalized." The Passionate Skeptic website @ http://thormay.net/unwiseideas/CrimeWithoutPunishment.htm 

Thor May (2012) " Déjà Vu and Wicked Stories - This story is just a grumble about living in a world of predictable villainy and occasional charm. As pretty as snowflakes piling up on a bleak field, I've accumulated a passable knowledge of world history and international affairs (especially Asian). Yet snow is snow, while the seven deadly sins don't really change their cloaks regardless of the weather. No matter where I look and no matter at what time in history, the same underlying stories play out. Good ideas/ideals get subverted by the bad guys (in fact, one-time good guys are apt to be bought out and enlisted in the Evil Empire of the age), wealth funnels to the few, classes are entrenched, sex is exploited, trust evaporates ... " The Passionate Skeptic website @ http://thormay.net/unwiseideas/dejavu.htm 

Thor May (2012) "The contest for Competence - If some people don't break the rules sometimes, then a normal society will cease to function. Breaking the wrong rules for the wrong reasons is like breaking legs though. And if everyone breaks the rules, then a society will disintegrate. A paradox? Yes. See how this cake is baked..." The Passionate Skeptic website @ http://thormay.net/unwiseideas/competence.html 

Thor May (2003) "The Case for Favoritism - ...yes, there are men and women who have obtained their jobs unfairly. They are legion, and the burden of their incompetence has sunk countless companies and economies. Yet amongst their number are individuals of great ability, who lacking beauty, mediocrity or some other qualification of 'meritorious selection' by average fools, would never have had the chance to exercise their gifts without the unfair intervention of some wiser sponsor.." The Passionate Skeptic website @ http://thormay.net/unwiseideas/favoritism.html 

David Stroud (August 15, 2019) "Since Donald J Trump has stiffed so many contractors, why do contractors continue to bid for his contracts?" Quora.com @
https://www.quora.com/Since-Donald-J-Trump-has-stiffed-so-many-contractors-why-do-contractors-continue-to-bid-for-his-contracts  [Thor, comment: When it comes to cheating, it's interesting to check out the style of pros in the game - not just Trump. The back and forth on the comments in this post gives some good insights. You can bet they also apply in Australia]

Ross Pomeroy (November 22, 2015) "Almost Everyone Cheats, But Only Just a Little Bit". Real Clear Science website @ https://www.realclearscience.com/blog/2015/11/why_almost_everyone_
cheats_but_only_just_a_little_bit.html 

Julia Guerra (September 19, 2018) "7 traits most cheaters have in common" Insider website @ https://www.insider.com/habits-cheaters-have-2018-9  [.. about relationship cheating]

Anonymous blog (n.d.) "Dan Ariely on How and Why We Cheat". Farnham Street website @ https://fs.blog/2015/12/dan-ariely-on-why-and-how-we-cheat/  [Thor, comment: brief but useful]

ian beutler >> heavens above, Thor, - if one didnt cheat on all these other cheats, one wouldnt even survive by being cheated on by them. it's dog eat dog etc... if anybody hadnt noticed. Those Spartans really were a great lot. My greatest triumphs have been wht THEY called failures.

Anonymous blog (January 2018) "Complexity Bias: Why We Prefer Complicated to Simple" Farnham Street website @ https://fs.blog/2018/01/complexity-bias/  [Thor, comment: This is a fascinating article which has an indirect but crucial relationship to the 'Cheating' topic. Quote: "The more individual constituent parts a system has, the greater the chance of its breaking down. Charlie Munger once said that 'Where you have complexity, by nature you can have fraud and mistakes.' In other words, cheating becomes easier the more complicated the situation is. You will see complication as a cover for cheating in everything from personal relationships to politics to service contracts ..."]

Dan Ariely (March 31, 2014) "The Honest Truth About Dishonesty - Everyone cheats a little from time to time. But most major betrayals within organizations – from accounting fraud to doping in sports – start with a first step that crosses the line". Knowledge@Wharton website @ https://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/dan-ariely-dishonestys-slippery-slope/
 
Hannah Smothers (December 13, 2017) "8 Reasons Why You Should Rethink Your Stance on Cheating". Cosmipolitan website @ https://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/a14418794/rethink-cheating-esther-perel-state-of-affairs/  [ Quote: "At one point during her talk, Perel asked the audience to raise their hands if they've experienced infidelity in any capacity — whether by being of the three primary actors involved, having a parent or parents who cheated, having a friend confide in you about cheating, etc. Nearly the entire audience raised their hands. Perel said acknowledging how common cheating is is an important step in breaking down the taboo that exists around it .."]

Cevin Solingcevin (January 2015) "Why I think students should cheat". Wired magazine @https://www.wired.com/2015/01/think-students-allowed-cheat/  [Quote: "One of the most salient features of all public schools is the importance of grades. Because grades are the currency and sole commodity of schools, they are used both to motivate and punish. They are a major component of a student’s portfolio and have the potential to impact their future. Educators might try to stress the value of “learning” over grades, but that is a complete farce. When learning is not commensurately represented by grades, students rightly feel cheated by the system and become apathetic. To insist on valuing learning over grades is offensively disingenuous and hypocritical. It is akin to telling workers at McDonald’s that they should care more about doing their job than their salary."]


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Thor's own websites:

1. articles at http://independent.academia.edu/ThorMay ;

2. legacy site: http://thormay.net .

 


Everyone needs to cheat a little (c) Thor May 2019 return to Ddiscussion