What Penguins Know About Business: The Value of Sharing in Markets
“There’s nothing new about being shameless, or ruthless and cynical, when it comes to making a buck. Plenty of people in business seem to think that fakery and exploitation is the name of the game. Which is one reason that trade and commerce have always had something of an image problem. “Behind every fortune is a great crime” is one way of looking at it. “Never give a sucker an even break” is another.
Contrary to those sentiments, research in my lab and in numerous field experiments has shown that the marketplace actually makes people more moral, not less. Trade not only depends on moral behaviors like trustworthiness; it extends it beyond the small circumference of kinship or friendship. And then, with a twist that will come as a revelation to the “never give ’em a break” crowd, moral behavior actually increases the efficiency and profitability of trade.”