Does corruption, power fuel cooperation in society?By IANS
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
WASHINGTON - Moral corruption and power asymmetries are pervasive in human societies, but as it turns out, they may fuel societal cooperation!
Francisco beda, evolutionary biology professor at the University of Tennessee and Edgar Duez of Harvard University found that power and corruption help maintain overall societal cooperation, the Evolution journal reports.
Using game theory, beda and Duez looked at what causes individuals in society to cooperate even though those in charge are known to be corrupt.
They developed a model that allows individuals responsible for punishing non-cooperators (law enforcers and government officials) to fail to cooperate themselves by acting in a corrupt manner, according to a Harvard statement.
They also considered the possibility that these law enforcers, by virtue of their positions, are able to sidestep punishment when they are caught failing to cooperate.
What they found was that the bulk of society cooperates because there are law enforcers forcing them to stay in line. People tend to cooperate because they do not want to get punished.
However, if the law enforcers have too much power and corruption runs rampant, overall societal cooperation breaks down.