[ExI] Corruption (was congress-lawyers)

Stuart LaForge avant at sollegro.com
Wed Sep 19 04:05:39 UTC 2018

BillW wrote:

> Lots of physicians too.  Note the big story about a big time doctor who
> failed to reveal millions of income from Big Pharm.
> Is corruption an instinct?

It's called cheating. It's something even more primal than instinct. It's
a survival strategy displayed in group settings by everything from
bacteria and slime-molds to human and eusocial insect societies. It can
happen within species or between species. It can even happen inside a
single organism.

Multicellular organisms must deal with cheating by their cells in the
guise of cancer. In economics it is called "the Free Rider Problem".  You
can call it the curse of being social or the tragedy of the commons or
networked prisoner's dilemma. It's all the same phenomenon playing out at
different scales.


The only known strategy against it is to find it and punish it or
otherwise eliminate it whenever possible. To this end do honeybees eat any
eggs they find that were laid by workers and white blood cells roam your
body looking for tumor antigens. Rhesus monkeys scream en masse at
high-ranking cheaters and physically attack lower-ranking cheaters.

The ancient Greek penalty for cheating or bribery in the Olympic Games was
monetary fines, flogging, and banning from further competition.

Stuart LaForge

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