Friday, May 25, 2012


Honesty is something that we all value and see as obvious, even though we do question things. There are liars and conmen, we all know and despise that, and that makes us value honesty even more.

One of the online newspapers I read have webtests where people can check many different things and today I found one about honesty.

"If you find money on the street, do you take it?" It's in Swedish, but I'll translate the questions.

1. You find a wallet with 50€. Do you turn it in to the police?
2. Would you part in a handicap space?
3. When you leave the story you notice that you got too much cash back. Do you return it?
4. Would you drive if you suspect you are too drunk.
5. You're in a hurry. Would you go on the train without paying if the risk of detection is little to none?
6. Would you steal hotel towels?
7. Would you take envelopes and pencils from work?
8. You see your friend's partner holding hands with someone else. Do you tell your friend?
9. You're alone on the road, would you drive 30km/h over the limit to get home quicker?
10. It's raining, you see that the bus won't have space for you. Would you push yourself ahead in the line?
11. A fried gives you an illegal copy of a program. Would you install it in your computer?
12. Would you cheat on your taxes if you felt certain you'd get away with it?

69000 persons have taken the test so it should show a fair view on the "average". Over all you can say that roughly 20-30% are dishonest while 70-80% are honest. But there are questions where the opposite apply. That's what I find interesting.

70% would hand in the wallet while 75% would keep the money if they got too much back at the store. 73% would not take hotel towels while 64% would take pencils from work. 69% would not cheat on their taxes while 79% would install illegal programs in their computer.

The point is that people seem to agree on many things when it comes to when to be honest and when to cheat. Some things are more "acceptable" to do wile others are not. Drunk driving is a good example, 93% would not drink and drive.

The honesty we all value is subjective. What value does honesty hold when we can pick and choose where it should apply or not?

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