MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Socialists Are Cheaters, Says New Study

"The longer individuals were exposed to socialism, the more likely they were to cheat on our task," according to a new study, "The (True) Legacy of Two Really Existing Economic Systems," from Duke University and the University of Munich. The team of researchers concluded this after working with 259 participants from Berlin who grew up on opposite sides of the infamous wall.

When playing a dice game that could earn them €6 ($8), subjects originally from the East, which was for four decades under socialist rule, were more likely than their market economy counterparts in West to lie about how they fared. The Economist explains the task:

The game was simple enough. Each participant was asked to throw a die 40 times and record each roll on a piece of paper. A higher overall tally earned a bigger payoff. Before each roll, players had to commit themselves to write down the number that was on either the top or the bottom side of the die. However, they did not have to tell anyone which side they had chosen, which made it easy to cheat by rolling the die first and then pretending that they had selected the side with the highest number. If they picked the top and then rolled a two, for example, they would have an incentive to claim—falsely—that they had chosen the bottom, which would be a five.

The results were that "East Germans cheated twice as much as West Germans overall," leaving the researchers to conclude the "the political regime of socialism has a lasting impact on citizens' basic morality."

The paper discusses some potentially related reasons for the outcome, such as the fact that

socialist systems have been characterized by extensive scarcity, which ultimately led to the collapse of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in East Germany. In many instances, socialism pressured or forced people to work around official laws. For instance, in East Germany stealing a load of building materials in order to trade it for a television set might have been the only way for a driver of gravel loads to connect to the outside world. Moreover, socialist systems have been characterized by a high degree of infiltration by the intelligence apparatus.

The Duke-Munich team positions their work against a 2013 study, "Of Morals, Markets and Mice," which concluded "that market economies decay morals" but "compared decisions in bilateral and multilateral market settings to individual decisions rather than an alternative economic allocation mechanism." The new research finds that "political and economic regimes such as socialism might have an even more detrimental effect on individuals’ behavior."

In another aspect of the study, the researchers note that "we did not observe an overall difference between East and West Germans in pro-social behavior," such as donating to hospitals, the capitalist-influenced demographic does, in fact, donate marginally more.

Photo Credit: cc

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • WTF||

    By any means necessary.
    Is anyone actually surprised by this? Socialists are all about the ends justify the means.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    No, it's that to function in a socialist economy you need to cheat to get ahead, so if you're not a paragon of virtue you develop the cheating habit.

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, I think that is more what it is.

    When I was in Hong Kong recently, a friend who has been living in China for several years made an interesting observation about cultural differences between HK and the mainland. In HK, you can pretty much trust that people will do business with you honestly and fairly, whereas on the mainland, people will do whatever they can get away with and only really trust their very close family and friends because under the communists those were the only people you could trust and you had to do whatever you could get away with just to survive.

  • ||

    Because under communism, consumers don't have a choice about where they buy products.
    Employers don't have a choice about what they pay employees.

    Income is (intentionally) divorced from performance or merit, both at the level of consumers purchasing products and employers purchasing labor.

    And given that your income is going to vary indepently of whether you cheat or not, why not cheat?
    It becomes rational to cheat if there are no meaningful costs associated with cheating.

  • Zeb||

    It becomes rational to cheat if there are no meaningful costs associated with cheating.

    Like in this study, for example.

  • ||

    Yes, but the difference between the E. German and W. German behavior tells you that West Germans have learned a habitual reluctance to cheat. It may be rational to cheat, but they are resistant to doing so, while the East Germans or not. That tells you something about the kinds experiences and incentives that have shaped people's attitudes. One system produces people who are more ethical than the other.

  • Jingo||

    I don't know about you but my experiences in Hong Kong were the opposite. It depends who you are doing business with. You can't speak Chinese right? So you must've done business with the people who could speak English, generally better educated or larger corporations. Those tend to be more honest.

    You must've never heard of the 14K or ventured out of the typical foreigner places. Besides those fraudsters, the environment in HK is atrocious sometimes. I once could barely breathe outside, I thought it was a dust storm but it was pollution. Just appalling.

    That said they do offer some great deals for offshoring (you can have a 0% corporate tax rate there) but there are some better locales to choose frankly as HK requires more paperwork and is becoming more and more a closed economy as China tightens it's grip.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    In China, that effect is also called the Confucian Circle. While it is a bastardization of the original principles, the practical implementation leads to treating those within your circle as beyond reproach and those outside it as worthless.

    For this reason, Chinese have a hard time understanding Westerners when they help strangers, yet don't bail pervie Uncle Eddie out of jail.

  • ||

    It's the Circle of Trust.

  • dannye||

    This is true. I grew up in HK but lived in Shanghai for many years. The expectation in mainland China is that people will do anything to rip you off.

    In fact you're not even expected to hold a grudge for being on the receiving end of blatant lies because it is the accepted cultural norm.

  • Jingo||

    Also this study is completely b*llsh*t because what REALLY determines whether or not people cheat is religion.

    It never mentioned that in East Germany, religion had been mostly snuffed out, whereas West Germans are much more religious. This explains why they are half as likely to cheat as the Eastern ones much better since in OTHER areas there was not much difference (like charity).

    It proves my point that, without faith, it is ILLOGICAL not to cheat, steal, rape, etc. if you think you have a 100% chance of getting away with it. Why not just take what you want, do what you want, etc? Everyone else be d*mned, right?

    Imagine this scenario: there is a suitcase you found with $100,000 in it and no one knows you found it and the area you live in has no reward for returning stolen belongings. Would you return it? It is illogical for anyone except a religious person to do so (and even then many religious people won't due to the temptation of sin), because there is no gain. They get no afterlife reward.

    Or if you are a hideous atheist who would give your life to be with someone who won't requite that love, why not kidnap/rape her?

    There are some actions most of society recognizes as "evil" because of religious thinking, but NOT doing those "evil" actions can be illogical from an evolutionary/survival of the fittest standpoint because if one is truly atheist they should do whatever they can get away with (logically speaking).

  • Vulgar Madman||

    Unless they're the sort who thinks, Jesus has given them a pass.

  • steedamike||

    Jingo,

    Hideous atheist here...I don't believe the study is complete BS, nor do I believe that religion explains everything. I already read that perverting incentives can cause/explain cheating. This particular study introduces information that living in a society where corruption is normal will have a long-term impact on their morals - which is a pretty good thing to know.

    Religion/fear of going to Hell is an incentive not to do bad, but it is not the only one. It's pretty much the same as a fear of getting caught and being punished by going to jail or whatever - religious people are just ALSO afraid of answering for their sins at the pearly gates.

    I HIGHLY recommend this book. It should shed some light on a lot of the subject:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Righ.....0307377903

  • Jingo||

    You may be a "hideous atheist" but you didn't say you were willing to die to be with someone who doesn't requite your love.

    Again, my point was, if you can get away with getting something you want, whether stealing, revenge murder, rape, etc. Why would you DENY SELF-INTEREST to not do so?

    It is illogical. This is my point. It is bizarre to me how atheists try to concoct reasons for having morality. It's like their trying to out-moralize religious people just to say "hey look at me, I'm a moral atheist!". You're still DEFINING yourself by a Judeo-Christian standard and DENYING self-interest.

    Either admit it is illogical, or admit you have a soul which gives you that conscience and is why you deny your own self-interest.

    Either that or admit all you care about is other people's opinions of you, so you act in line with their standards of morality in order to "fit in". Rather crummy excuse, but at least that would be somewhat logical.

  • Charles Easterly||

    "Also this study is completely b*llsh*t because what REALLY determines whether or not people cheat is religion."

    I have the sense, "Jingo", that you were being serious with everything you wrote including and following what I've quoted. Were you?

  • umh||

    If the only reason you do the right thing is fear of some great diety has it ever occurred to you that your God knows what you think?

  • Jingo||

    Has it ever occured to you that if there is no God, and you can get away with stealing something you want, or raping someone you think is beautiful, that it is actually ILLOGICAL to not do so?

    Why deny self-interest without some sort of spiritual explanation? It doesn't necessarily have to be fear of God, but could be rather you recognize you have a soul, and therefore a conscience, given by God, that you reject your own self-interest as "wrong".

    But without religion/faith/a soul, there is nothing "evil" or "wrong" in the world at all. Only conflicting self-interests.

  • Jingo||

    These people are the perfect case in point. They are vastly more atheist/agnostic than their West German counterparts and so they tend to steal more often when they think they can get away with it.

    Instead of condemning that behavior, we should recognize it is the LOGICAL BEHAVIOR. And this study did not punish them for cheating, so they did "get away" with the money. So they did the logical thing by cheating.

    It is immoral only in the eyes of those with faith, religion, or who recognize they have a soul and recognize the difference between "good" and "evil", or "right" and "wrong". Many here are in denial of God/faith/etc. and yet still seem to adhere to the Abrahamic faiths' senses of what is "right" or "wrong", such as bribery/corruption/etc.

  • Jingo||

    Atheists just don't want to admit my point because then they would be conceding that they do not share the rest of the world's views on what is "right" and "wrong".

    But it is shockingly odd to hear atheists condemn people who got away with stealing which was in their self-interest. In favor of what? Doing the "right" thing? Right in whose eyes? God's?

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    This. It's a corrupting influence.

  • Sudden||

    It does a good job of explaining the New England Patriots.

  • Brochettaward||

    It proves my point that, without faith, it is ILLOGICAL not to cheat, steal, rape, etc. if you think you have a 100% chance of getting away with it.

    So, believing there is a man in the sky who will punish you is different from fear of the state...how?

    I'm not religious and don't have any belief in an all powerful being who will punish me. I still have morals and ethics, and I can make reasoned arguments as to why I have them or people should that don't invoke dogma or fear.

    More than that, you are working under a faulty assumption that humans are rational beings. We are emotional creatures capable of reasoning.

    There are parts of the brain that influence behavior which aren't rational at all. That goes back to our evolutionary history. We can see it in other primates and social animals.

  • James Taggart||

    Another way of saying this is: "So, if God didn't exist or wasn't looking, nothing would stop you from cheating, raping or stealing?"

    If so, please keep thinking God is watching you. And, tell all your friends.

  • Jingo||

    Because "the state" is not all-knowing (yet) and some people would literally be willing to die to experience some things (imagine some ugly fat guy who would be willing to die to rape a beautiful woman). Those people are only dissuaded because they have a conscience OR because they fear God.

    But that "conscience", if there is no God, is irrational and not logical if it obstructs self-interest.

    Why do you bother yourself with "morals" and "ethics"? You yourself state it is "emotional", which is saying it's a whimsical choice of yours and thus you are being ILLOGICAL.

    Can you really say if a man dropped a briefcase with a million dollars and you found it and no one knew you had it, you'd return it?

    If you would, then you are either an imbecile or you secretly deep down have a soul which imbues you with that conscience and if you are atheist you are just denying your own soul's existence.

  • Jingo||

    "I can make reasoned arguments as to why I have them or people should that don't invoke dogma or fear"

    Explain why someone should return a briefcase full of money, or not rape a person they can never "get with", that doesn't invoke dogma or fear.

    You yourself are equating us with primates and other animals. They operate on survival of the fittest. Many animals often kill the spouses in order to be with the other animal they want, they fight over territory and kill each other without hesitation.

    If we're just "animals" then ONLY SELF-INTEREST or the STRONG prevail.

    If we're just "animals" then survival of the fittest, fascism, etc. would prevail like the Nazis programmes of eugenics to wipe out the weak DNA lines and euthanize the elderly or mentally retarded would be the "logical" choices of governing.

  • Jingo||

    "More than that, you are working under a faulty assumption that humans are rational beings. We are emotional creatures capable of reasoning."

    Then if there is no God (which I disagree with personally) we as creatures with a brain, should figure that out and deny this "irrational" part of our brain.

    In your very rebuttal of my words, you YOURSELF CONCEDED the reasons for your view are irrational.

  • Suicidy||

    It's both. I have a Marxist Aunt. She was a California professor of English and a librarian for her whole career. She is also a feminist. When I cornered her on Clinton's boorish and rapey behavior towards young women, she said it was toe,table because he did so much 'good' In public life. Same for that shitsack Ted Kennedy.

    She was also the first in line to condemn Schwarzenegger for his similar, yet lesser antics. Because he was a republican. And that's how it works for progressives. The ends justify the means. Anything goes as long as the Marxism keeps coming.

    And people on this sight continue to wonder why I consider using force against them to be inevitable.

  • MoreFreedom||

    I agree, getting ahead in a socialist economy is dependent on cheating. In a socialist economy, the government takes from all according to ability (i.e. tax producers more) and then turns around and gives to those deemed needy (welfare). That is government stealing from Peter for Paul's benefit, with government deciding from who they take, and to whom they give.

    If government is engaged in theft, then why can't people also do it? That's the morality of socialism. In an immoral system, many people will become immoral.

  • timbo||

    Capitalism and free trade involves ethics. It requires both sides of the transaction to act in their best interest but both have to be cognizant of each others actions.
    Marxism says take from the rich and give away. Inherently corrupt.

    Which one is the better system for freedom and advancement.

  • dan'o||

    I was told my someone intimate with the diamond exchange in Antwerp that the handshake deals between parties are never too one sided. Each person knows that the other needs to make a profit in order to come back and buy/sell next time. A good example of people acting in their own self interest while considering the other party as well

  • dan'o||

    (forgot to add) I find it very interesting that this seeming altruism
    it actually is in the rational self interest of each party. I believe the same is true outside of business. Easiest path to feeling good about myself is to consider and meet someone else's needs- provided that I do so of my own freewill, not with the coercion of law. Does anyone actually get self esteem for knowing where their tax dollars go?

  • MoreFreedom||

    Your post hits the nail on the head, as to why businesses don't want to screw over their customers, in free markets.

    You get to do one deal with a customer you screw, because they won't do business with you anymore. But if you both profit, then you'll continue doing more deals with that customer. And you'll both continue to profit.

  • mtrueman||

    "Socialists are all about the ends justify the means."

    But they are not Socialists; they only lived in a Socialist country. They are probably less Socialist than you. That experience of life under Socialism taught them they needn't submit to arbitrary authority. Capitalism is apparently better at convincing people to submit to arbitrary authority. Not much to boast about.

  • soflarider||

    Arbitrary?

  • mtrueman||

    I guess anyone in a white lab coat waving 6 euro under your nose is hardly arbitrary.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "Each participant was asked to throw a die 40 times and record each roll on a piece of paper."

    Hey, I used to do that when rolling up my D&D characters!

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    My alignment choices were Good, Capitalist Neutral, and Socialist Evil.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    But the good news is I got 18 on Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution *and* Charisma!

  • ||

    No you didn't. You only rolled the allotted 18 die and took the results as given - because you're not a dirty communist.

    Socialists roll 4d6 and drop the lowest die.

  • The Last American Hero||

    I thought it was Eugenicists that roll 4d6 and drop the lowest.

    Communists use a point system.

  • Ted S.||

    When I got my TI-99/4A decades ago, I wrote a BASIC program to flip ten virtual coins at the same time, and report how many turned up heads.

    Only later did I learn the concept of pseudorandomness.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    The TI-99/4A, that brings back memories of tape drives and cursing.

  • Suicidy||

    Computers before porn........

  • Agent_Decoy||

    lol. Before computers had porn, computers WERE porn.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    The standard of living in West Germany is way higher than East Germany. So are the people in the west more honest, or are they just less likely to consider $8 enough money to be worth cheating over?

    That is does socialism per se make people less honest, or is it just that socialism makes people poor and poor people are more desperate?

  • lap83||

    But is it really true that poor people are more likely to cheat? That's a pretty bold statement.

  • wef||

    racist, too!

  • ||

    East Germans are a race separate from West Germans?

  • wef||

    Doesn't matter - it's racist! And anyway, race doesn't exist - all right thinking people know that! But poor people are poor because of racism. So, yeah, east Germans must be a race. QED.

  • Rhywun||

    The standard of living in West Germany is way higher than East Germany.

    After 25 years I don't think anyone in Germany is so poor they feel the need to cheat on a stupid test to get 8 bucks.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I highly doubt that America at the same income level in the past would have registered as high a level of property crime. Developing capitalist societies in Asia and Latin America (e.g. Chile or S Korea) rarely register such dysfunctions.

    Socialism provides incentives for people to cheat, forcibly eliminates alternatives to cheating in order to thrive, establishes an economic system which guarantees poverty and diminishes universal individual liberties and morality in favor of selective group liberty and morality.

  • epeeist||

    Interesting. I'm also wondering about the sample selection; if the comparison was not with a corrupt/totalitarian/poor "socialist" state like East Germany, but with e.g. Sweden or the like, what would the results be? That strikes me as a fairer experiment, more capitalistic vs. more socialistic in genuinely democratic relatively free societies.

  • Calidissident||

    Sweden isn't really socialist though it's still a social democracy with a capitalist system underneath. Far from totally free but so is Germany

  • ImanAzol||

    Socialism makes people criminal, and criminals are socialist--they believe they're entitled to your property for existing.

  • sasob||

    Exactly. Only the most ruthlessly unprincipled are likely to survive years of socialism and/or communism. Decent people lose out.

  • MoreFreedom||

    Freedom is highly correlated to prosperity in its many forms (income, lifespan, child mortality, etc.). That is the reason why West Germany has a higher standard of living than East Germany.

    Germany has an extensive welfare state, and $8 is worth about one meal. I don't see East Germans as so desperate. I see them as valuing their reputation for honesty less than those in West Germany. Those in the west know that to gain customers, your reputation for fair dealing and honesty are very important. Those in the east don't know this lesson because they've never had a free market.

    The net result is consumers in socialist societies wait in line for bread, while bread waits for buyers in freer markets. Your choice in a socialist society is where to wait in line for bread, or to go to the much longer line complaing about the lines.

  • AlgerHiss||

    Always remember too, that socialism is for the people, NOT the socialist.

  • ||

    Another retarded "social study" with basically no scientific basis whatsoever. How did they know the participants were lying?

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Self-reports?

  • Almanian!||

    lulz

  • WTF||

    Because statistically they would be expected to roll just as many low numbers as high numbers over a sufficient number of throws, so if they got a very disproportionate number of high throws, they were likely lying, unless they had an incredible run of luck.

  • ||

    So basically they're guessing. Another rigorous social study!

  • ||

    You're not real familiar with these "statistics" and "probability" things, are you?

  • ||

    If they're not actually verifying whether someone lied or not, that's called guessing, subgenius. They can be guided by probability, but without verification, it's guessing.

    You're not real familiar with the scientific method, are you.

  • sarcasmic||

    The scientific method says that in the long run dice will even out. So when one group consistently scores higher than another, with the only variable being their honesty, the logical conclusion is that they are not being honest.

  • ||

    The scientific method says that unless your results can be verified, they don't mean shit. The scientific method doesn't say a fucking thing about probability.

    Jesus Christ, it's amazing talking to people who bleat out totally incorrect definitions with total confidence.

    It's also fascinating how many people here are going all in on this study, yet if an equally retarded social study had been done to "prove" libertarians were heartless monsters, they'd be decrying it from the rooftops.

    Integrity: it's not what's for dinner.

  • sarcasmic||

    So you don't know shit about statistics or probability. Thank you for playing.

    Though I don't blame you. Took me two tries to get through the class. Though it didn't help that the first try was with a professor who had such a strong Indian accent that I couldn't understand shit.

    "Seecks plus seecks equals twelev."

  • The Tone Police||

    I am unclear on Epi's problem, here. If someone rolled the dice 1,000 times and reported a 100% winning rate, there would obviously be a problem. So somewhere in between that and a 50% win rate, there is probably an issue.

  • sarcasmic||

    Unless you're going all Bo on us about stats/probs vs scientific method. In which case fuck you.

  • waffles||

    I'm sure we can construct just such a study. You all are indeed heartless monsters. Over the course of 40 rolls of the die I'm sure the results will speak for themselves...

  • Zeb||

    The scientific method says that unless your results can be verified, they don't mean shit.

    It can be verified that over time, dice rolls will will come out more or less even. I think that is relevant here. I agree that you really can't conclude much from this study. But one thing that you can safely conclude is that the people who did better than what would be statistically expected were most likely cheating.

  • sasob||

    if an equally retarded social study had been done to "prove" libertarians were heartless monsters,

    Nonsense! No proof is needed at all. Libertarians are by definition "heartless monsters." Now excuse me while I go polish my collection of monocles.

  • soflarider||

    "Now excuse me while I go polish my collection of monocles."

    You polish your own monocles?

  • ||

    I'm pretty sure they had error bars and r-factors and other stuff.

    So it's more like we can say with (for example) 99% certainty that the East Germans cheated more often.

    Of course that would mean there's a 1% chance that the East Germans just happened to be luckier than the West Germans over thousands of die rolls.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    So it's more like we can say with (for example) 99% certainty that the East Germans cheated more often.

    Of course that would mean there's a 1% chance that the East Germans just happened to be luckier than the West Germans over thousands of die rolls.

    Bitches don't know about my Type I/Type II Error.

  • The Tone Police||

    Even if they rolled the die one million times?

  • The Last American Hero||

    Make me roll 1 million times and I'm going to want more than $8.

  • Will4Freedom||

    I just wrote a quick VBScript to role a dice 1 million times. Here are the results:

    #1 rolled 167,269 times
    #2 rolled 166,264 times
    #3 rolled 166,838 times
    #4 rolled 166,196 times
    #5 rolled 166,410 times
    #6 rolled 167,023 times

    Anyone care to calculate the deviation?

  • Agent_Decoy||

    Standard deviation = 440.2
    Standard error of the mean = 0.4402

  • MoreFreedom||

    A standard deviation of 2 suggests that the likelihood of an outcome is 5%. A three standard deviation says the likelihood of the outcome is 97.5% (if my memory serves me). Particle physics uses a standard of "5 sigma" for the declaration of a discovery. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_deviation

    A standard deviation of 440 means they are lying. It's even more likely they all have won the lottery.

  • Zeb||

    If they're not actually verifying whether someone lied or not, that's called guessing, subgenius.

    I suspect that what they were actually doing was saying that it was very much more likely than not that they were cheating, which, if determined by valid statistical methods, is something different from guessing.

  • Mercutio||

  • Eggs Benedict Cumberbund||

    Using probability - in this example - could be an extremely reliable way of estimating the amount of cheating. Its an instrument as valid as a thermometer if the experimental design is set up properly.

    Integrated circuits are designed on probabilities that a signal will or won't jump across a portion of the circuit. Casinos use probabilities combined with betting rules (amounts and kinds) to get a reliable, predictable income.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Ok...no more need for speculating. Here is the paper for anyone to read, the experimental setup is on page 5.

    I also noticed the lead author was Dan Ariely, who kicks ass. Jus' sayin'

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    And it case you're too damn lazy to click a link

    After agreeing to participate, each subject received an envelope with six single 1 EUR coins, the maximal possible payout on the die task we used to measure cheating. Subjects were then asked to throw a physical die 40 times. To measure cheating, subjects were instructed to decide on one side of the die—top or bottom—in their mind, and to memorize their decision before rolling the die. They then threw the die and observed the outcome of the side they memorized. Subjects were instructed to record this number on a sheet of paper. Each time they threw the die, subjects could cheat by claiming that they chose the side of the die leading to the higher payout (by reporting the side of the die with the larger number of dots = high side). The payout that subjects ultimately received was determined by selecting one of their rolls at random, by having the experimenter draw a number from 1 to 40 out of an envelope. Subjects earned 1 EUR for each dot on this particular roll. If subjects were completely honest, they would be expected to report deciding on the high side of the die in 50 percent of cases, and the expected value of the average payout would be 3.50 EUR.
  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Our experiment combines two previously implemented procedures where subjects were paid based on the number of dots on reported die rolls (Fischbacher and Föllmi-Heusi, 2013; Jiang, 2013; Mann et al., mimeo). Jiang (2013) designed a die-roll cheating task where subjects reported choosing one side of the die, top or bottom, on a computer screen over multiple trials. Subjects were told to mentally select a side of the die before each roll, but recorded their choice only after seeing the outcome. In the experiment by Fischbacher and Föllmi-Heusi (2013), subjects were asked to roll a physical die and memorize the first roll. They were further instructed to roll the die a couple of times to test whether the die was fair, but to memorize only the first roll and report it later on a computer screen. In this setting, cheating was revealed if subjects reported a number different from the one rolled on the first roll. In our experiment, subjects could cheat on two dimensions: by misreporting the side they had previously memorized and by making up a roll outcome altogether
  • Brian||

    Episiarch, I don't see what your problem is.

    The scientism is settled: socialists cheat more.

    Why do you hate science, Episiarch?

  • mtrueman||

    "They can be guided by probability, but without verification, it's guessing."
    I think I see what you are getting at, and not only can this study not be verified, it cannot be repeated. There are just too many variables to control for. Anyway, it's an experiment in social science, not science. The Science department is on the other side of the campus, if you are lost.

  • MoreFreedom||

    The study can be repeated, and I expect it will be repeated with other groups. What makes you think it cannot?

    It can also be verified as long as the data is available. I expect the self reported results, are in the participants handwriting.

  • MoreFreedom||

    Casinos use the same method to determine if blackjack players are counting cards. Is that guessing as well?

    I think this will be followed up by tests where they actually verify whether the participants are lying for each roll without them knowing. Just to show those who don't believe or understand probability and statistics, that they are wrong.

    Reminds me of Madoff, and the analysts who said his results were not believeable based on his results. Then the SEC didn't believe them, and allowed Madoff to do more harm, rather than do their job (sounds like Obama) and check it out.

  • sarcasmic||

    Not really. I play Aggravation with my neighbors now and again, and the games almost always even out towards the end. Because that's how dice work in the long run. You do need to brush up on your stats and probs.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I'm guessing they observed the dice roll and compared it with what the dude said. But even if it's bullshit, it's awesome trolling as there are a gazillion other bullshit studies about how "rich" people are meanies.

    Paul Piff has made an entire career out of reaffirming the beliefs of leftist middle-class envious pricks.

    Behold!

    His surprising studies include running rigged games of Monopoly, tracking how those who drive expensive cars behave versus those driving less expensive vehicles and even determining that rich people are literally more likely to take candy from children than the less well-off. The results often don't paint a pretty picture about the motivating forces of wealth. He writes, "specifically, I have been finding that increased wealth and status in society lead to increased self-focus and, in turn, decreased compassion, altruism, and ethical behavior."
  • sasob||

    Sounds like the way people would act under socialism to me.

  • ||

    They looked at the reported results and compared them to what should have been expected.

    Not that is not still another retarded social study with no scientific basis.

    The danger - and we're seeing it right here in this thread already - is that it confirms what we *want* it to confirm. People here are already posting about how it 'makes sense' and all that, as if that's good enough.

  • Almanian!||

    YOU LIE!

    /Joe Wilson

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Slashderp comments - the Soviet Block wasn't real socialism because failed socialism doesn't bring utopia and therefore isn't real socialism.

  • Rhywun||

    Jesus, the comments there are brain-bleedingly stupid. Holy fuck.

  • ||

    Slashdot was Derptastic over 10 years ago. It only every enjoyed a brief moment of intellectual credibility somewhere in the mid-90s.

  • Almanian!||

    Ah - the True Scotsman lived in the USSR. Who knew?!

  • Brian||

    These are the same people who claim that libertarianism equals Somalia, and if you disagree, you're pulling a no true scotsman.

    They're smart enough to accuse people of fallacies, but too stupid to understand the difference between that an logical arguments.

  • Brett L||

    Why would you read a site that is entirely peopled by Youtube commenters who think they are smarter than every other Youtube commenter?

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    If you looked at libertarian socialist societies them you'd likely find they are less likely to cheat thanks to a high degree of social trust.

    Also, in a capitalist society, you'll find that the rich are more likely to cheat. That suggests to me that to get capitalism encourages cheating as a means to get ahead - hardly a ringing endorsement (and helping put to be the myth of meritocracy).

    So many strawmen, which do you burn first?

  • ||

    Lots of those comments are encouraging.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    In order to fully understand how any society works, one must grow up under that system. As a person who grew up in the old Soviet Union, I am intimately aware of how and why the people were being cheated. My father pretty much gave me an introduction to the old Soviet system, and explained how it works.
    Story #1.
    My father used to work two jobs, as a house painter. First job was for the state, and the second job (In Russian "Khaltura") for himself. We lived OK, and could make ends meet. One time on a weekend, when I was ten years old, my father took me to his second job. I was carrying a bucket of paint (it was very heavy), and my father was carrying three. On the way he told me how it works. A state on the first job gives five buckets of paint to work on the apartment. By doing some Soviet Innovation chemical Magic with water, paint, iron powder and gasoline it is possible to make five buckets of paint out of two buckets (which what my dad used to do), and three of the buckets he would take to the second job.
  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    I recall being in shock, and my dad told me that the state hardly pays any money for survival, and only the second job can. He also told me that everyone steals, and in the Soviet System everyone steals because EVERYONE IS THE OWNER. I did not like the explanation, and was quite upset. However the person who we pained the apartment of (a local surgeon), interjected into our conversation. He told me that he does the same thing, except he and his nurses take (steal) antibiotics and other drugs, borrow medical instruments and once a week go to remote villages that lacks doctors to operate on the patients. That's how they make 70% of their living. This incident really opened my eyes. Everyone was stealing. A state store personnel would divert the goods from the store onto the black market, thus making a profit. A car mechanic would reuse old brakes (again, Soviet innovation magic) instead of replacing onto new ones, selling the new breaks. And everyone was doing this, not because they are dishonest, but because they needed to survive.
  • ||

    Right, because there is NO COST associated with using the watered down paint or the bad brakes at the state-owned store, because the state-owned story is a monopoly. If the brakes are bad, they will not lose business. if the paint peels, they will not lose customers. Reputation doesn't matter under socialism. Reputation only matters if you are in a market where your customers are free to patronize someone else.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    To illustrate some quirks of Soviet Survival, here is a story #2.
    This happened when I was 11 years old. It was a middle of the night, and approximately 3 o'clock early morning. I suddenly saw a light coming from my parents' room, and heard my dad walking in his heavy shoes. Looking at my alarm clock, I could not understand what would my dad be doing so early.
    I came out rubbing my eyes, seeing my dad fully dressed I asked, "Dad, where are you going?"
    And he answered me, "I'm going to a milk store, son".
    I told him that the milk store opens at 6 in the morning, why would he need to leave at three. To which he replied:
    "Son, if I wait until that time to come to the store opening, there is going to be such a huge line of people, that by the time my time comes to get the milk -- there is going to be none there. So I have to go and stay there for three hours, waiting until the store opens."
    After my dad left, I drank some tea, ate my breakfast and went after my dad to the milk store to stand with him.
  • Doctor Whom||

    Given a society or species that is much more altruistic, willing to contribute to the entire society rather than focusing on personal benefit, the result would be elevation of everybody.

    IOW, the only thing wrong with communism was that people tried to make it work with human beings.

  • sasob||

    I can remember several social studies teachers, back in the sixties, informing the class that communism was a wonderful system if only it worked. At the time I was too young and uneducated to ask them what made them think that it doesn't. (Whether or not something works depends on what it is one really wishes to accomplish.)

  • James Taggart||

    It works just fine for the party bosses. Sucks for everyone else.

  • Remnant Psyche||

    Well, that, and no central authority could possibly have enough information to make better decisions about, say, resource distribution than the people receiving the resources.

  • ||

    No duh. That's the cornerstone of their whole philosophy.

  • Rich||

    Before each roll, players had to commit themselves to write down the number that was on either the top or the bottom side of the die. However, they did not have to tell anyone which side they had chosen

    So, player writes TOP, rolls 2, records 5? How exactly was "cheating" ascertained in this experiment? Were all the rolls videoed and compared to the player's top/bottom list, or what? I'm missing something (maybe sleep)...

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    It means they won *every* Initiative roll...

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Probability. With a uniform probability distribution, you should have the same chances of rolling a 5 as a 2. In theory, the more times you run the experiment, the closer the average will match the expected value, which is why they have participants roll 40 times. They are probably establishing that highly improbable reports of rolling 4s, 5s, and 6s over 40 rolls are proof of cheating, and assuming that the rest are either not cheaters (or at least not proven cheaters).

  • Stormy Dragon||

    He didn't actually have write TOP. He was supposed to think "TOP" or "BOTTOM" and then roll the die. If he was honest, you'd expect equal numbers of each result. A dishonest person would think TOP, roll a 1, and then pretend they thought BOTTOM and thus got 6, so you'd see far more 4s, 5s, and 6s.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    In many instances, socialism pressured or forced people to work around official laws.

    When everything is illegal, nothing is.

  • Rhywun||

    socialism pressured or forced people to work around official laws

    Thank god we don't have any of that in the US.

  • JPyrate||

    "It's better to pay a 10$ bribe to the police officer that just pulled you over, than a 25$ fine." I have a friend that's a Russian language major who spent a lot of time in Moscow. This is how the locales explained it to him.

  • JPyrate||

    I suppose on the other end. It's better to accept a 10$ bribe that goes into your pocket, than write up a 25$ ticket that goes into your bosses pocket.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Sounds like BS to me. Beware of confirmation bias.

  • ||

    You can interpret the results in light of relative poverty in East Germany, but I suspect that even if you correct for the income of participants, you'll still get the same result.

    That's because of the different incentives that socialist systems present to people. And the key is that because the lack of market competition means that reputation effects do not matter. If the state-owned co-op is a monopoly, then there is no reason why the managers and workers at the state owned co-op would care what consumers think of them.

    Basically, if you are guarenteed a job and an income, there is no reason for you to give a shit if people think you're a dishonest cheater.

    The central point of the "invisible hand" analogy in Adam Smith is that in a free market, people care about their reputations, because their incomes depend upon it. And their caring about their reputation means they will stay honest. You depend not on the butcher's generosity, but on his self-interest. Under socialism, the butcher is the manager of a state-owned monopoly, and has a fixed salary. He doesn't care what people think. He only care what his superiors in the government think, and they aren't his customers. Thus the incentives for corruption are all over the place.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    You can interpret the results in light of relative poverty in East Germany


    I've always found this notion dubious. There are a variety of violent and property crimes for which the rate of incidence per/1000 pop is actually *higher* today than it was throughout the 1800s. There is nothing inherent in poverty which requires social dysfunction, and there were and are plenty of sub-groups which were far more law-abiding and property-respecting than the general population (the first waves of immigrant Jewish-Americans, for example).

  • ||

    Way to read the first line and ignore the rest of the post.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I was adding onto your comment, not rebutting it.

  • Zeb||

    There are a variety of violent and property crimes for which the rate of incidence per/1000 pop is actually *higher* today than it was throughout the 1800s.

    How can one actually know this? It sounds plausible and I can think of several reasons why it might be the case, but as I understand it a whole lot less crime was reported or investigated in the 19th century than is today.

  • kilroy||

    In the 1800's if you stole a horse you were hung.

  • Zeb||

    I would have been hung in any case.

    I believe the preferred usage is "hanged".

  • kilroy||

    Correct. Mea culpa.

  • sasob||

    In the 1800's if you stole a horse you were hung.

    Well the horse was anyway.

  • Calidissident||

    Not disagreeing but comparing to the 1800s is a bit problematic due to differences in urbanization levels

  • GILMORE||

    Its not "cheating"

    Its 'adjusting for the inequities inherent in the system'.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Evolution, man. Being honest in a socialist system is a good way to be a victim.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Predicted salon.com summary: Study finds that socialists experience unusually good luck; no similar correlation found with prayer.

  • Remnant Psyche||

    You should write for one of those Salon.com parody Twitter accounts.

  • ||

    http://rare.us/story/so-here-i.....d-to-mh17/

    So here is what the Russians are telling people happened to MH17


    "Less than one week after the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, the world is embroiled in countless questions about what happened to the doomed flight. Was it shot down? Looks like it. Was it Russia? Maybe. Was it Russian separatists? Probably.

    This is of course leaving out the most absurd theory of all, currently being in Russian media.

    Remember Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 that disappeared in March? According to Russian news outlets, that’s the same plane that went down in Ukraine, only it was already filled with corpses planted there by the United States of America.

    Seriously.

    The New Republic shared a translation of one of the more choice interpretations of this theory.

    “On the necessary day and hour, it flew out, bound for Malaysia, but inside were not live people, but corpses. The plane was flown not by real pilots; it was on autopilot. Or take-off (a complicated procedure) was executed by live pilots, who then ejected on parachutes,” one Russian news outlet wrote.

    “Then the plane flew automatically. In the necessary spot, it was blown up, without even using a surface-to-air missile. Instead the plane was packed with a bomb, just like the CIA did on 9/11.”"

  • ||

    OT, but fuck me.

  • ||

    Conspiracy theories are what happens when weak minded people are confronted with a truth they can't handle.

  • waffles||

    Yeah these people are stupid. MH370 made it to Shangri-La too. IF it quacks like a duck, you know? I suspect fowl play.

    Aside that, this is excellent fodder, though the grim reality is Putin allowed the wrong people to have the choicest arms. And they used them the wrong way.

  • ||

    Somehow Putin managed to delude everyone into thinking he was some sort of brilliant long-range machiavellian chess-master.

    Now it turns out he's just as capable of blundering blindly into wars he can't control was George W. Bush.

  • waffles||

    Do you think that was deliberate? It was the West painting him as the 3-D chess master to Obama's checkers. Putin has made it clear he does not give a fuck what the Western media portrays him as.

    Other than than I agree, he has fucked up and pushed a winning position into a loser. He still is a in a good spot because without American action what will the rest of the NATO nations do?

  • ||

    We don't have to do anything. The Russian separtists will destroy themselves, as they are clearly doing as we speak. Downing a civilian airliner cost them any legitimacy they might have had.

  • JW||

    His strategy is the same as the honey badger's. Putin just doesn't fucking care who dies, as long as it's not him.

  • waffles||

    Holy shit. So it was just a decoy and the real plane is in Shangri-La!

    I knew it!

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Taking a play from the old Stalin book.

  • ||

    So here is what the Russians are telling people happened to MH17

    Russians are saying that...all of em?

    We have Truthers here in the US.

    Why should there be a surprise that Russia has their own version?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    According to Russian news outlets


    As far as I know, none of our news outlets is a Truther front. In contrast, the Russian media (which is largely government-controlled) has published this conspiracy front and center.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I was going to say, you ever watch Russia Today for more than 10 minutes? Still, even Abby Martin turned out to be too batshit insane for their tastes.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Where does she fall on the hot/crazy curve?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    And why?

  • sarcasmic||

    It's not cheating, it's social justice!

  • Sevo||

    And over in the O-care thread, we had commie-kid cheering that he still gets free shit stolen from others.
    And now we're told commies cheat? How............
    predictable.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    “Do you know how it worked, that plan, and what it did to people? Try pouring water into a tank where there’s a pipe at the bottom draining it out faster than you pour it, and each bucket you bring breaks that pipe an inch wider, and the harder you work the more is demanded of you, and you stand slinging buckets forty hours a week, then forthy-eight, then fifty-six – for your neighbor’s supper – for his wife’s operation – for his child’s measles – for his mother’s wheel chair – for his uncle’s shirt – for his nephew’s schooling – for the baby next door – for the baby to be born – for anyone anywhere around you – it’s theirs to receive, from diapers to dentures – and yours to work, from sunup to sundown, month after month, year after year, with nothing to show for it but your sweat, with nothing in sight for you but their pleasure, for the whole of your life, without rest, without hope, without end … From each according to his ability, to each according to his need …

    Ayn Rand
    Atlas Shrugged

  • Bill Dalasio||

    “What was it they’d always told us about the vicious competition of the profit system, where men had to compete for who’d do a better job than his fellows? Vicious, wasn’t it? Well, they should have seen what it was like when we all had to compete with one another for who’d do the worst job possible. There’s no surer way to destroy a man than to force him into a spot where he has to aim at not doing his best, where he has to struggle to do a bad job, day after day. That will finish him quicker than drink or idleness or pulling stick-ups for a living. But there was nothing else for us to do except to fake unfitness. The one accusation we feared was to be suspected of ability. Ability was like a mortgage on you that you could never pay off. And what was there to work for? You knew that your basic pittance would be given to you anyway, whether you worked or not – your ‘housing and feeding allowance,’ it was called – and above that pittance, you had no chance to get anything, no matter how hard you tried. You couldn’t count on buying a new suit of clothes next year – they might give you a ‘clothing allowance’ or they might not, according to whether nobody broke a leg, needed an operation or gave birth to more babies. And if there wasn’t enough money for new suits for everybody, then you couldn’t get yours, either.

    Ayn Rand
    Atlas Shrugged
    (another excerpt)

  • ||

    A bunch of people here are choosing to learn way too much from this one little experiment.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Yes. The confirmation bias is strong with this thread.

  • Rev-Match||

    "political and economic regimes such as socialism might have an even more detrimental effect on individuals’ behavior."

    100+ million people dead over the last century at the hands of their own governments agree.

  • ||

    I question the conclusions drawn from this study, but it is interesting nonetheless.

  • Steve B||

    I could have told them this after my first month living in post-communist Poland (1991-2004).
    Among the many people who told me about this was an English teacher Pani Ewa.
    I mentioned a local girl I was dating and she said, "Yes, I know her family. They're honest."
    She must have seen something in my face, perhaps an expression that said, "Well that's nice," or something.
    "You don't understand," she said. "It was difficult to be honest."

  • Stephdumas||

    Speaking of socialists, Michael Moore is good to preach the old saying "Do as I said, not as I do" with his 9 properties in NY and Michigan.
    www.deadlinedetroit.com
    http://detroit.jalopnik.com/su.....1608888124

  • RAHeinlein||

    Poster-child for "Champagne Socialists" everywhere.

  • frankania||

    Socialism only works in small groups, where everyone knows everyone else. That way, if you cheat, you are ostracized and your life becomes difficult. We have socialism everywhere: families, for example.

    When the group is in the hundreds or thousands, you cannot know everyone, thus cheating becomes normal and it becomes one closed group vs. another.

  • EV||

    This was basically early Christianity and two people were struck down by God for lying.

  • rrose726||

    Start working at home with Google. It’s a great work at home opportunity. Just work for few hours. I earn up to $100 a day. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. www.Fox81.com

  • AS||

    I would have loved to see a study showing the socialism causes dishonesty. However, this study does not prove that. The difference could be due to poverty, rather than due to socialism. The authors of the original study could compare the result against other countries that are less socialist but poorer in order to better understand the underlying cause.

  • Brian||

    But that suffers from the same kind of problem: showing that cheating and poverty correlate does not show that cheating and socialism don't correlate.

    The best test would be to compare capitalist and socialists, but control for income and wealth.

  • SQRLSY One||

    (GAWD = Government Almighty’s Wrath Delivers, and
    SHAMM = Statist Heaven Above Mere Mortals)
    Our GAWD, Who dwells in SHAMM,
    Hallowed be Thy Name;
    Thy Taxes come in,
    Thy Bennies go out,
    All across the land,
    Powered by Thy Wrath.
    Give us more bread and circuses,
    More military crusades,
    And more stimulus funds.
    Keep us safe from earpoppers
    And lung flutes. Lead us not into
    Disobedience, but shelter us through
    Your Nannies. Forgive us
    When we are politically incorrect.
    For Yours is the Power and the Glory
    of the Pyramind Scheme, Forever and Ever,
    Amen!
    (This Worship Session brought to you by the Church of Scienfoology; see http://www.churchofsqrls.com/ )

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online