Kevin Hogan

International Speaker

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…so now we need to punish Warren Buffett…

…after all, he’s now the world’s richest man…that means that he has more than any other individual on the planet.

…problem is, he’s such a dang likeable guy…you really don’t feel like taking his money…

Most people will tell you that he doesn’t “deserve” to have “all that money.”

But what (logical) argument can someone really make?


There aren’t any.

He really does deserve to keep what is his; and he has earned it…

What could possibly compel a person to want to work two jobs only to have a greater percentage of their money taken (uh, I mean taxed) by “government” with the full support of others in the community/nation. (In other words stolen, though stolen is redefined as “taxed” when convenient.)

The System is designed to punish those who work long hard hours and reward those who don’t.

If someone came to your house and took 40% of your posessions I imagine you would become irritable. You worked hard for those possessions while everyone else was out on holiday. (I know, I know…50% in Europe, but you guys are now paying for the decisions you made at the polls long ago when you wanted “National Health Care” and other idiotic programs to put the government in charge …of…well just about everything.)

After all, it just makes sense to put people with the least education, people who didn’t make it at the firm…in charge…

So, along came “the people” …they took your money while you were gone at work, and gave it to those who don’t work, or those who only work one job.

Your bad.

And that family who was at work while “the people” took their money come home and wonder what they did wrong.

Punishment of those who work the hardest, who produce the most… how can it be?

Aren’t those the people you want to keep alive, to keep employing everyone else?


It isn’t fair that THEY have ALL THAT money.

Legend Point: I mean it IS fair, but the majority of people have an EQUALIZER built into their brain instead of an EQUITIZER.

And those distinctions are pretty huge.


Most people see them as the same thing.

Obviously, they aren’t.

And “this” is precisely what happens in every day real life.

The people who “play” and “party” demand that things be “EQUAL.”

The person who works two jobs to earn more money to support their family ends up paying about 4 (FOUR!) times the amount of tax (call “tax” what you will, it’s stealing…someone taking your suff without you okeedokeeing it)…than if they would have one job.

I’m in the process of “paying” “my taxes” (isn’t that a wonderful turn of a phrase?! I’m not “paying my taxes,” I’m being given a choice between parting with the 40% plus or sitting next to Teabag on Alcatraz).

When I was a kid, I saved coins and bought silver dimes whenever I saved enough money to do so.

When I was a sophomore, another kid from the neighborhood broke into my bedroom and stole seven years of savings. All of it.

Same thing happens today by the same kid now working for the “government.”

Except now he’s told to do it. In those days he was told he shouldn’t do it.

Funny how times change…

Hey…you try it.

Go to the neighbor’s house, take the keys to her car, get in the car and drive, wave.

Tell her she’s “paying her taxes.”

And that’s in the USA. A “free” country. That’s in the UK, Australia, Canada…

But wait, you can’t just take people’s stuff. I must be exaggerating to make a point right?


So it’s actually wrong for someone to come into my house (except the government) and steal my stuff; but it’s authorized, approved and demanded by “the people” to “take” my money.

And we are taught that it’s OK now for the kid to come into the bedroom and steal the stuff because I worked harder and for 16 hours each day from age 12 forward.

We should’ve gone and BOUGHT STUFF with our money so it wouldn’t be quite as OK to “take” it….

See how that “feels different” inside?

Doesn’t “feel” right that the government (your neighbor) comes and grabs your car, but it’s OK to grab the money that bought the car….

Brainwashing 101

The idea that people will take from those who earn and redistribute to those who don’t is an amazing phenomenon. It doesn’t work like that anywhere else in the cycle of evolution. Only in humans.

People who party get paid.
People who play get paid.
People who produce and do not go party or play, pay.

Now before this gets too personal for me, I want to shift to the science of how something so insane can possibly happen.

In the USA, 40% of people who earn money don’t pay taxes. They either defect or they simply earn money that isn’t “enough” to be taxed.

Another 10% of people don’t earn any money but are given more money by the government than many people who work for a living earn by working all day.

Produce nothing, get paid. OK by society. Society will die..

That kind of a system will fail.

Eventually the 50% who pay taxes (act of inducing permission of voluntary taking of your stuff, for fear of involuntary jail? WAIT, isn’t there a word for “if you don’t X, I’ll Y to you”…oh yeah…it’s the “Ext” word…) must leave the system and let the 50% who play and party make their own way.

(And yes, this article was triggered not only by the new research out, but the fact that my 1040 is sitting right in front of me and I need an antacid to make this “feel” OK.)

Scientific researchers have found about five different “types” of people.

The three we will talk about today are the Cooperators, the Defectors, and the Punishers.

Cooperators go earn money and allow themselves to be taxed instead of going to jail.

Punishers are people who punish Defectors, causing all to cooperate.


The concept of taxes is not actually a bad concept. It’s essential at some level in large societies.

To use 5-10% of a person’s income to pay for roads, sewer, clean water and defense is a very good thing. (And it doesn’t take more than 10% to do this.)


To use 40% is criminal.

That’s not a metaphor.

Defectors find a way to not pay taxes or worse, get money for doing nothing.

“Disability” for people who can walk and talk, welfare, food stamps, medical for nada.

(Don’t even start. I grew up very, very poor with 4 other kids and a Mom who refused accepting stolen goods like welfare, food stamps, medical no matter who they were …taken… from.)

For the paralyzed, the completely brain damaged, they have my fullest sympathy and support. Life dealt them a horrible hand I want and do actively help these people.

The guy who takes a disability check from a job and doesn’t go back out and work because his legs or back hurts or his poor hands aren’t as quick as they once were…well… my disgust level is elevated…the person who can go into a grocery store and pull out food stamps because they don’t have “a job,” that’s sickening.

If someone can add, open a wallet, and shop they can do just about anything.

Now you’d think the Punishers would punish the people who take the money from those who work.

But they don’t.


Because the Punishers are the government. They are imbued with the full power of …well….weapons…. to make sure money is extracted from those that work, and redistributed to those that don’t, trying to make everything “equal.” And when you let that mess get a name like “government” you have a system that will die.

The government is a bunch of people who are OK’ed to run the show and get their jobs by telling the people who don’t pay taxes that they are not being treated EQUALLY and that the government will FIX that. If you keep printing paper and promising FREE stuff, you get elected.

Try telling the truth and getting elected.

Can’t happen too often.

But, in the short-term it “works.”

People want to feel equal and indeed the “Partyer” and “Player” don’t care about the “Producer” as long as the Producer subsidizes their lives when they run out of money.

“Equal” is a strange phenomenon indeed.

Research just out sheds new light on CooperatorsPunishers and Defectors.

Research from The University of Nottingham has shed new light on the way in which people co-operate for the common good — and what happens when they don’t.

What’s particularly cool about this research is it highlights the HUGE cultural differences from country to country in how these roles are played out.

In a new International study of 16 countries, published in the journal Science, economists studied the extent to which some people will sacrifice personal gain to benefit the wider public, while ‘Freeloaders’ try to take advantage of their generosity.

Marked national differences arose when Freeloaders were punished for putting their own interests ahead of the common good. And whether they accepted their punishment or retaliated in kind depended on what kind of society they lived in, the researchers found.

In countries like the USA, Switzerland and the UK, Freeloaders accepted their punishment and became much more co-operative. But in countries based on more authoritarian and parochial social institutions such as Oman, Saudi Arabia, Greece and Russia, the Freeloaders took revenge — retaliating against those who had punished them.

Co-operation for the common good plummeted as a result.

In societies where the modern ethic of co-operation with unrelated strangers is less familiar and the rule of law is perceived to be weak, revenge is more common and co-operation suffers, the study found.

Economists are keen to understand the decision-making processes behind co-operation, as working together for the common good is crucial for progress in any society — not least for effectively addressing big issues such as recycling and tackling climate change.

Professor Simon Gaechter and Dr. Benedikt Herrmann at The University of Nottingham and Dr. Christian Thoni at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, studied the behaviour of people in 16 cities around the world, from Boston and Bonn to Riyadh, Minsk, Nottingham, Seoul and others.

Volunteers played a ‘public goods’ game in which they were given tokens and told they could either keep them all for themselves, or put it into a common ‘pot’ that would yield extra interest that would be shared out equally among all players.

If all volunteers pooled their money, then all would come out with more at the end of the game. But if individuals chose to keep the money for themselves — and not contribute anything — they could keep all of it and also benefit from the generosity of others, by sharing in the pooled interest.

Levels of co-operation were remarkably similar across all 16 nations. However, behaviour changed dramatically when everyone’s contributions were revealed — and players were given the ability to ‘punish’ other players. Players could punish each other by taking tokens away from each other, although this option cost the Punisher a token as well. As previous studies have shown, players were willing to part with a token of their own in order to punish Low Investors or Freeloaders.

But the Science study also uncovered a new phenomenon. In subsequent rounds of the game, the Freeloaders took revenge and hit back at their Higher-Paying Counterparts in what is described as ‘anti-social punishment’. Or at least, they did in some cities — most notably in more traditional societies based on authoritarian and parochial social institutions such as Muscat in Oman, Athens, Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, Samara in Russia, Minsk in Belarus, Istanbul, Seoul and Dnipropetrovsk in Ukraine. Players in these cities showed the highest levels of ‘anti-social punishment’.

The ultimate effect of this is to decrease co-operation between individuals, bringing down contributions and earnings to very low levels.

In other cities — most notably Boston in the US, Melbourne, Nottingham, St. Gallen and Zurich in Switzerland, Chengdu in China, Bonn and Copenhagen — this occurred much less often and only Freeloaders tended to get punished. These eight cities saw the least ‘antisocial punishment’ meted out, and earnings in the game increased over time.

Simon Gaechter, Professor of the Psychology of Economic Decision- Making at The University of Nottingham, said: “To our knowledge this is the largest cross-cultural difference in experimental games that has been carried out in the developed world.

“Our results correlate with other survey data in particular measures of social norms of civic co-operation and rule of law in these same societies. The findings suggest that in societies where public co- operation is ingrained and people trust their law enforcement institutions, revenge is generally shunned. But in societies where the modern ethic of co-operation with unrelated strangers is less familiar and the rule of law is weak, revenge is more common.

“There are numerous examples in everyday life of situations where co- operation is the best option but there are incentives to take a free ride, such as recycling, neighbourhood watch, voting maintaining the local environment, tackling climate change, and so on. We need to understand why people behave in this way because co-operation is very strongly inhibited in the presence of anti-social punishment.”

Norms of civic co-operation cover general attitudes to the law, for example whether or not citizens think it is acceptable to dodge taxes or flout laws. In societies where this behaviour is widespread and the rule of law is perceived to be ineffective — ie. if criminal acts frequently go unpunished — anti-social punishment is more common.

In a commentary in the same edition of Science, Professor Herbert Gintis of the Santa Fe Institute said: “Anti-social punishment was rare in the most democratic societies and very common otherwise.

“Using the World Democracy Audit evaluation of countries’ performance in political rights, civil liberties, press freedom and corruption, the top six performers among the countries studied were also in the lowest seven for anti-social punishment. These were the USA, UK, Germany, Denmark, Australia and Switzerland.”

He adds: “Their results suggest that the success of democratic market societies may depend critically upon moral virtues as well as material interests, so the depiction of civil society as the sphere of ‘naked self-interest’ is radically incorrect.”

Adapted from materials provided by University of Nottingham, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

University of Nottingham (2008, March 6). Cooperation, Punishment And Revenge In Economics And Society. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 7, 2008, from­ /releases/2008/03/080306183134.htm

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Author of The Psychology of Persuasion, Irresistible Attraction, and The Science of Influence, Dr. Kevin Hogan is trusted by organizations, both large and small, to help them help their people reach their personal peak performance and maximize influence in selling and marketing. Kevin is an internationally admired keynote speaker and corporate thought leader. In Coffee with Kevin Hogan, he shares his research, observations, and how you can apply them in your life – both in business and at home.

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