Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Heretical truth: Good leadership is strong


A strong leader who punishes cheats and freeloaders can increase the cooperation and riches enjoyed by the rest of the group, according to psychology and economics research at the University of British Columbia, Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Kent.

"One person can make a difference," says UBC Assoc. Prof. Joe Henrich, who teaches in the departments of Psychology and Economics. "Having a solitary leader can efficiently galvanize group cooperation."

"This addresses the classic human cooperation dilemma," says Henrich. "In society, you have those who cheat on their taxes, but still receive universal health care, or those who don't recycle, but will get the benefits of a cleaner environment."

Science Daily


It's just math.

If people can believe the system they are working for will reward them (roughly) fairly, they will give it an honest effort.

If they see their work being destroyed by those who contribute nothing and yet demand sustenance (parasites), well, why bother? Steal a little for the missus and kids and let the rest go to hell.

It's the Broken Window Theory writ large, or the fall of the Soviet Union and USA writ small.

But one strong leader who restores a sense of fairness, and smashes the parasites, reinvests every person in the system. So it's easy to fix.

Speaking of who are the parasites and who likes to play fair, we find it varies with intelligence and caste, of course:


Perusing the General Social Survey data, I discovered the following powerful correlation between how much one trusts other people and one’s verbal IQ (as measured by the Wordsum vocabulary test).

TRUST 163. A. Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted or that you can't be too careful in life.

{ Editor's note: the higher the wordsum score, the more likely people are to trust others; also, other studies have shown correlation between high wordsum score and social class. }

As a person’s class increases (based on verbal IQ, income, and educational attainment), he tends to hang with a better class of people, so he develops a more positive view of others. Despite my blog posts in which I feel sympathy for poor people, I have to acknowledge the fact that as people drop in class, their level of civility severely decreases. If you live in a housing project where people are being shot at, mugged, and the building is constantly vandalized and spray painted with graffiti, you’re going to develop a pretty negative view of people.

Half Sigma


Idiots cheat, steal, lie and destroy because idiots cannot create a better future for themselves.

Smart people are less likely to randomly punish others and more likely to punish outright violators, but also, to look toward the future because they can always make something better.

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Subvert the dominant paradigm, don't be a solipsist.

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