Ep24 “When Institutions Cry Wolf” with Jay Bhattacharya | Summary and Q&A

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April 13, 2023
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Stanford Graduate School of Business
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Ep24 “When Institutions Cry Wolf” with Jay Bhattacharya

TL;DR

Lying for the public good, even if well-intentioned, can have severe consequences, including the loss of trust and credibility.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What are the consequences of lying to people for their own good?

Lying for their own good may provide short-term benefits, but it leads to the loss of trust and credibility. Once people discover the lie, they become less likely to believe future claims, undermining the credibility of the liar.

Q: Can lying for the public good be justified?

Lying for the public good is a complex issue. While it may seem beneficial to prevent harmful behaviors, like overfishing, the risk of the lie being discovered and the subsequent loss of credibility can outweigh the short-term benefits.

Q: How does lying in medicine impact society?

Doctors often exaggerate the consequences of certain actions to encourage healthier behaviors. However, this can lead to distrust in doctors and medical advice when the lies are discovered.

Q: How does the loss of credibility affect public health efforts?

The loss of credibility in public health can have severe consequences. It undermines trust in public health institutions and can lead to a decrease in compliance with public health measures, such as vaccinations or following guidelines during a pandemic.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Lying to people, whether for their own good or for the public good, may provide short-term benefits but leads to the loss of trust and credibility.

  • Examples of lying for their own good include exaggerating the negative effects of marijuana to prevent people from trying it, which ironically turns it into a gateway drug.

  • Lying for the public good can be seen in cases like the tragedy of the commons, where people might be in favor of lying about the availability of a resource to prevent overconsumption.

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