How does someone think it's ok to cheat or steal? It's easier than you think.

A few weeks ago I was sitting in a public forum listening to people talk about the economy. As you might imagine, some of them were exceedingly upset. I came away a bit overwhelmed at how difficult it can be to help them make sense of the incredible injustices that they see in the economic fallout around them. They want punishment because they think there is some clearly identifiable enemy upon which to blame the dilemma.

It's hard for them or us to comprehend that a large and diverse group of people all collaborated on creating a system which bent all of the players to believe that what they were doing was playing a game and that the game was ok.

It wasn't cheating. It was a game.

In his talk at the TED conference, Dan Ariely talks about just how easy it is to get morally bent. It might help make some sense of how we got to where we are.

About Phil Yanov

Phil Yanov is a Technologist, Columnist and Public Radio Commentator.

He is the founder of Tech After Five as well as the founder and President of the GSA Technology Council and the IT Leadership Council.

His personal technology column appears in Greenville Business Magazine and the Columbia Business Journal.

He co-hosts the Your Day technology shows heard on NPR radio stations across South Carolina and is a frequent contributor to technology stories appearing on radio and television.