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07/09/2012

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Brendan Saloner

It's peculiar in another sense -- we know that human nature is neither wholly altruistic nor wholly selfish, but responds to the social norms and incentives that are provided by institutions. In countless field experiments, the degree to which people cheat depends upon their perception that doing so is widespread and some degree of self-deception that cheating is "harmless." This kind of tendency is what leads to fraudulent behavior, including investors manipulating rates (as in Britain recently) or creating phony financial products. Far from being pollyanish about human nature, liberals are often the ones who call for stronger regulation in order to curb the natural tendency to engage in self-serving fraud. If conservatives are the ones that "get" that humans are inherently prone to certain corrupting behaviors, they should be much quicker to embrace some of the remedies that liberals support.

Bill Gardner (@Bill_Gardner)

Excellent point, Brendan.

Paul Kelleher

To show that human nature is immutable, all we need to do is point to the absolute failure of abolitionists.

Bill Gardner (@Bill_Gardner)

Not to mention how constant marriage and gender roles have been across ages

Paul Kelleher

Indeed.

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