Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Absolute power corrupts absolutely

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.

In a study that looks at the evolutionary role of leaders in society, the researchers explored how having a leader in charge – with the power to punish – works better than spreading responsibility through the entire group.

Interesting, but not an unsurprising result. The problems arises out of the fact that in the real world, a leader with that kind of power has a greater incentive to enrich himself as opposed to the group.