Sunday, November 25, 2012

The economics of lying

Good morning economists and have a lovely week. I was reading on the news the other day about Perse school in Cambridge, England, where a strange rule allows students to get out of trouble with the headmaster (principal) if they manage to come up with a creative excuse within a time limit of 10 seconds. Thus, it is possible to talk their way out of punishment by lying and doing it so in a creative manner. Even though the principal of the school was criticized for allowing such a rule, he is convinced that students are forced to think "on their feet" therefore allowing them to develop mentally. The unorthodox rule, however, creates a problem in that it raises bad behavior activity that is premeditated. Allow me to explain.

We can classify lying into two general categories: premeditated lies and instantaneous lies. A premeditated lie is one that is prepared in advance because it is known to the culprit that he/she will engage in an inappropriate activity in the future. In case that he/she will get caught, the excuse will be already prepared. Even in this case though, the culprit knows that the lie may be accepted or rejected by a court of law.
 The second category is instantaneous lies. In this case, the culprit is accused of doing something which was not premeditated. In this case, the accused needs to come up with an excuse on the spot. Perse school's "get out of jail for free" card applies strictly to this category of lies and will not work in the case of a premeditated activity. In fact one can argue that because students are familiar with the rule, they will switch their behavior to premeditated activities that will allow them to defend themselves when they face the headmaster.

Is this a good thing you may ask? Let me remind you that premeditated crime is punished harsher because it shows intention! Time for the headmaster to change his tactics.

Have a truthful day!

1 comment:

  1. This article is cool I'm taking Financial Planner Classes and studying also BSEconomics this is really helpful for my thesis thanks for sharing!