What are the consequences of the VP? How does it impact our daily lives? I suspect that the impact is serious and universal. The choice between the individual's best interest and the group's best interest is a choice we all must make constantly. Apparently, we don't always chose what is best for society!
If you have followed the above arguments and accept the logic, you should have no problem accepting the conclusion that most crime is a direct result of the "individual over individual's group" choice, as defined in this essay. That is, crime is usually committed based on the individual's assessment that the his/her benefit will exceed the cost. And that cost includes the damage done to society by this crime -- a society that the perpetrator must suffer with also. It would seem reasonable that crime will increase if either the benefit is increased and/or the cost is decreased. Most likely, the large increase in crime our society is now experiencing is a result of the decrease in cost to the criminal.
Can we blame the decrease in cost on the VP phenomenon? Unfortunately the answer is "Yes, very much so". The system imposes the cost and the system is composed of individuals that must way their cost/return ratio in every action they take. From the congressman to the cop on the beat, each individual knows that an action that would be good for society in general might be expensive to them personally. They defect. And when they do, the cost to the criminal just dropped another notch.
What about the crime itself? Do people ever weigh the cost of the crime to society (that they belong to) vs. their own gain? Surely they must. Surely, the person selling weapons or secrets to our enemies must evaluate their personal gain against the damage such a sale may do to our society -- for a white-collar example.
Some examples of the decreased cost are:
In the last few decades, in many communities, crime has become more socially acceptable - even "cool". As we have discussed earlier, social psychological pressures are very powerful (enough to cause a person to sacrifice their life rather than be seen as a coward, for instance). This psychological good feeling of being looked up to by the individual's peers far outweighs the potential future destruction to the community that all will suffer from including the perpetrator.
Again, it should be emphasized that a person in the middle of looting and mayhem knows that their actions, one way or the other, will have no effect on the others committing these violent acts.
So why not join in? It would be nice to have a new TV.
Socially unacceptable sexual activity is on the increase in spite of the widening of the definition of what is acceptable. In particular, sexual activity by the young and others in which the results present a burden to society are on the increase. Much of this is a result of the VP phenomena.
The increase is the result of both an increase in the benefit and a decrease in the cost. Some of the most obvious factors are:
It is now socially acceptable for sex to be fully enjoyed - particularly by the female. Sexual activity is heightened by constant exposure to sexually stimulating media and dress.
A large country like the U.S.A, composed of many divisions -- states, cities, communities -- is itself beset with problems of the VP nature. For example, why should my community send off money to the Federal Government to be distributed over the entire country? On the other hand, why should my community not pursue the fat government contracts that is an expensive waste to the rest of you, but a nice bundle of cash for our local folks?
In fact, why should a congressman do what is best for the country when his/her bread is buttered by the community he/she represents? How is spending ever going to be curtailed with each congressperson knowing this?
Government burden and suppression of individual rights continues to increase since it benefits a few. Yet, we all suffer from these infringements, including those that benefit from it. Unfortunately, their direct reward exceeds their losses from being a member of society.
Let's face it: while you agree that unnecessary and expensive medical tests are causing our health care costs to skyrocket, when you go to the hospital with that disturbing pain in your chest, you want the best that your insurance will pay for!
As long as health care is handled as an expense of the insured group or the government sponsored group, the problem will continue to get worse. The only hope to cure this problem is to remove it from the VP class and make health care and individual responsibility. Unfortunately, this creates other problems that our society is not willing to accept.
The VP phenomenon is ubiquitous to all aspects of the legal profession. "While I know that society in general will suffer if I sue the doctor for every mistake, real or imagined, I am going to sue his ass off!", we seem to all be saying. It is said that juries make these huge awards because they would like to treated the same way if they were in the same situation. And do not lawyers realize that they are part of the society that they are destroying with their greed? Sure they do -- but their personal take far outweighs the cost they feel from being part of society.
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