The Psychology of Cheating

The New York Times:

To some it was a fitting end to a pointless witch hunt. On Wednesday, after weeks of graphic testimony about steroid use, a jury in San Francisco cleared the former baseball slugger Barry Bonds of all charges but one, obstruction of justice. And even that might not hold up.

But for those who feel most strongly about cheating, the verdict was more like a kick in the stomach. Flouting the rules is, for them, not only morally wrong but a lasting offense to good citizens everywhere: If guilty, offenders should pay, whether they’re rich or poor, malingerers or masters of the universe — like the financial figures central to the economic collapse of 2008.

The sentiment runs particularly high now at tax time, when almost everyone thinks that he’s paying too much while others cheat.

Yet paradoxically, it’s often an obsession with fairness that leads people to begin cutting corners in the first place.

Read the whole story: The New York Times

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