You know that old saying, “Cheaters never prosper”? According to a report from Science, that may be just clever propaganda designed to conceal the wealth-producing secrets of the rich.
The team’s findings suggest that privilege promotes dishonesty. For example, upper-class subjects were more likely to cheat. After five apparently random rolls of a computerized die for a chance to win an online gift certificate, three times as many upper-class players reported totals higher than 12—even though, unbeknownst to them, the game was rigged so that 12 was the highest possible score.
If you think about it, it does make sense: if you have an environment where some people value fairness and fair play, and other people are willing to do whatever it takes to maximize their rewards, then over time the fair play folks will see more of their rewards shared with others (meaning less reward for themselves), while the whatever-it-takes folks will end up with more rewards for themselves, provided they’re reasonably wily about getting away with it.
And once they get enough to start buying their own news media, lobbyists, and political candidates… Hmmm, I wonder how long it would take this process to divide society into 99% fair-players and 1% wealthy cheaters? Part of me says this is over-simplified and too plausible to be true. On the other hand, it would explain a lot.