Why people cheat…

Great selection from the book why we cheat in Delaney Place this morning…

“Cheating is not limited to humans; it has been documented throughout the living world, wherever there is competition for limited resources. … In an effort to better understand cheating, scientists have discovered that creativity, fear of loss and the observation of dishonest behavior can motivate cheating or make it more likely. … In nature, cheating has evolved as a way for organisms to gain advantage over others without incurring the cost of effort. …

“One major manifestation of social intelligence is the ability to deceive. Tactical deception is widespread among primates. Ethologist Hans Kummer of the University of Zurich vividly described cheating behavior in hamadryas baboons in Ethiopia: female juveniles mate with juvenile males while concealing their actions from the alpha male by hiding behind rocks. Primatologist Frans de Waal of Emory University has documented examples of deception by chimpanzees living in captivity. In 2004 psychologists Richard W. Byrne of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and Nadia Corp, now at Keele University in England, showed that neocortex size predicts the degree to which primates practice deception. The bigger the neocortex in a species, the more individuals in that society use dishonest tactics for social manipulation.
“Humans are surprisingly quick to cheat when the circumstances are conducive. In 2008 behavioral economist Dan Ariely of Duke University and his colleagues described what happened when they asked college students to solve math puzzles for cash rewards. When the researchers changed the experimental conditions such that the students assumed the examiner could not detect cheating, the average self-reported test score rose significantly. The researchers determined that the scores were not inflated by a few students who cheated a lot but rather by many students cheating a little.

img_1182“Not everyone is equally likely to cheat, however. In 2011 Ariely and behavioral economist Francesca Gino of Harvard Business School reported that people who score higher on psychological tests of creativity are more apt to engage in dishonesty — a connection that is perhaps not surprising considering that creativity and tactical deception are both products of the neocortex. Yet Gino and Ariely believe the two are not just anatomically correlated but causally connected. They submit that creative individuals are better at self-deception: they come up with more inventive rationalizations for cheating as a way of making themselves feel better about doing it. … Ironically, the creativity and intelligence that we regard as distinctly human might have arisen alongside our ability to deceive. We are who we are because we cheat. …

“Cheating can breed more of the same if nothing puts a brake on the process. Once someone has overcome the initial barrier to cheating, subsequent hurdles to dishonest behavior may seem smaller and trivial to surmount. Ariely calls this response the ‘what the hell’ effect, as in ‘what the hell, I already blew my diet, so I may as well have the dessert.’ … Another way that cheating can spread is through copycat behavior. Seeing someone else cheat without apparent consequences strongly encourages others to do the same. … In 2011 psychologists Agata Blachnio and Malgorzata Weremko of Catholic University of Lublin in Poland described an experiment in which students took a spelling test in a room secretly fitted with a one-way mirror. A dictionary and a thesaurus were in the room, but the students were asked not to use them. Subjects were three times as likely to cheat when an assistant posing as a cheating student was also present. In fact, unchecked dishonesty can promote the perception that one must cheat to remain competitive.

“Such observations have led Ariely to refer to cheating as ‘infectious.’ … This kind of social contagion may help explain the high prevalence of cheating in relatively small groups of people. For example, 125 Harvard students were recently under investigation for cheating on the final examination in an introductory government course. (More than half these students were told to withdraw from school for up to a year as punishment.) It is statistically unlikely that nearly half the 279 students in that class are sociopaths given the low prevalence of sociopathy — about 3 percent in males and 1 percent in females. A more plausible explanation is contagion. The widespread bending of the rules probably led students to conclude that collaborating with other students was okay.”
Author: Ferric C. Fang and Arturo Casadevall
Title: “Why We Cheat”
Publisher: Scientific American Mind
Date: May/June 2013
Pages: 32-36

So, maybe when the leader of the Council claims to be a lawyer and is found out to be a fake lawyer with no lawyer credentials, she can just blame it on everyone else, just being creative, and evolution…

Tenacious Web Scam

If  you are a small or really any sized retail business, and get one of these in the post, bring it to the attention of your local Councillor.  They most probably won’t know anything about it, as there are only a couple of business rates paying Councillors in Surrey Heath, I think only 2 others besides us…  It is a scam, because if you fill it in you will get yourself a bill €993+VAT for a non-existent publication from Madrid.  Not only that, you will get if for 3 years. Here is what is on the bottom in the small print:



the nub of it: really bad work

When people can’t defend the quality of their work, they have to stoop to emotion. My difficulty is that I am unable to accept and champion really bad work. I reached the point a few months ago where I said “enough is enough” to the really bad work. So, what was the really bad work that I’d had enough of?

  1. the Council’s leader and executive convinced us a couple years ago to give them £500K of the taxpayers money to work with consultants to bring John Lewis to Camberley. They had no idea what they were doing, and John Lewis was never coming to Camberley. The whole thing was one big delusional sham that lost £500K of the taxpayers money for no good reason
  2. there is no plan for the Camberley Town Centre, it continues to be one of the top 5 worst town centres in the UK. They are now working on what we call a “Hail Mary” play that they are making a fatal hash of
  3. the employment environment inside the Council is dire, no wonder the unions are having a field day inside the Council, the elected Leader has even gotten herself involved in personnel matters that were way out of line
  4. the A30 eyesore is a 20 year debacle that has been held up by the inaction of Surrey Heath; the County could have had it finished several years ago, but it has been held up by the bickering and power grabbing of the Leader of the Council
  5. the recent A30 slip road parking fiasco was a shocking abuse of power by the elected leader, and resulted in 1,800 families who were unjustifiably given huge fines vowing never to come back to Camberley again, a great boost to retail in Camberley
  6. the Deepcut disaster gets worse by the day. The leader of the Council forced this through on highly dubious grounds. Now we have 1,400 homes landing on us without the slightest hint of infrastructure to support them
  7. small retail businesses had their business rates go up by 30.1% this year, Surrey Heath is becoming too harsh and hard to do retail business in
  8. parking in Camberley has been a debacle for each of the 5 years I have been a Councillor. The Council makes about £1M/year on it after expenses, yet they always have a reason why it is screwed up and doesn’t’ work
  9. the Camberley Theatre is losing £500K/year and nothing is done to fix it
  10. we built exactly one affordable dwelling in all of Surrey Heath for the 87,000 residents last year
  11. we have £34,000,000 in the bank and we do not need to raise council taxes, but every year we tell our citizens we have to, and we just do
  12. we have councillors who have been there for more than 3 decades, and they have no intention of allowing any new blood in unless someone dies

So, enough is enough of the bad work. Spin is coming from every direction right now to try to convince the citizens that bad work is just some sort of misunderstanding, but the simple truth is that bad work is just bad work, and it doesn’t become good work unless you do something very different. Are they going to do something different? Well I have no confidence they might under this leader and executive, and I have the opportunity now to call it as it is…

memberSome of you want to know how this affects me as a Conservative.  Not at all if I can help it, but the leader wants my scalp because I have displayed the unmitigated gall to call bad work what it is, bad work…  I am looking for like-minded members of the community who will call time on the bad work, enough is enough…

Boundary Commission Council Meeting

Pretty low key news, but the Boundary Commission has been reviewing the seats held by everyone at every level of government. We already know that Parliament is going from 650 MPs to 600. Looks like Surrey Heath will go from 40 Councillors to 34 or 35.  Anyway here is the Boundary Commission work done by our Governance Working Group, just click on the link: electoral-review-ward-pattern-report-and-annex-a3354

It was the single most confusing and contradictory Council Meeting I have ever been to. The leader and CEO seemed to think they were making one proposal to the members, when if fact there were two.  Cllr. McClafferty told everyone of his drives through the two controversial wards, and inadvertently pointed this out to everyone, thinking it was a good thing, and it went straight downhill from there…  Several members who weren’t snoring actually noticed it too.  Members were so riveted by the excitement they started exiting the debate to use the facilities and deal with other personal business, and the Mayor and Council’s leader generally lost  control…

So, all the controversy was about the wards of Heatherside and Parkside. Councillors Ilnicki and Hawkins (both of them) both gave impassioned pleas for their wards to be the ones preserved, they probably would have fought to the death, but the Mayor only gave them each 5 minutes to speak, and old guys can’t fight to the death in 5 minutes, 10 minimum…  Fortunately the man who rescued the show was the leader of the opposition, Cllr. Rodney Bates who called all their attention to the fundamental problems with the 2 proposals and that they needed language in the motion to reflect the 34 or 35 members that the Boundary Commission might approve. It was definitely my most enjoyable meeting being out from under the confusion.