Do Ethical People Finish Financially First or Last?

It is almost Christmas time and the song “Santa Claus is coming to town” keeps playing over and over.  For me the key lines of this ear-worm are “He knows if you’ve been bad or good so be good for goodness sake.”  The song clearly states doing the right thing leads to more gifts on Christmas day.

I have been puzzling over these lyrics for years and wondered if the lines are true.  Outside of Christmas does being ethical and honest lead a person to riches or poverty?  While the debate has lasted a long time, only recently have actual data been gathered that can answer the question.  My recently published analysis contained results that surprised me; only a few ethical and unethical acts were associated with financial changes. Continue reading

Should People Be Arrested for Painting Crosswalks?

About 15 years ago Robert Putnam wrote an interesting book called “Bowling Alone.”  The book used data on participation in bowling teams, parent-teacher organizations (PTA), church attendance and other social activities to argue that the US was experiencing a breakdown in the bonds that held communities together.  Today, a man was cited by the police for repainting his town’s crosswalks after the town repeatedly delayed fixing them.  Should people be arrested for engaging in community improving activities?

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