The Value of Truth Telling, Negative memes in the infosphere pose mortal threats, transforming lies and other offensive messages into strategic disabilities
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Several scholars have suggested that honesty, honor, fairness and other traditional values play a vital role in making capitalism and democracy function (Fukuyama 1995; Zak 2008). Others have recognized that capitalism and democracy reward greed and reinforce antisocial manipulators (Hayes-Roth 2011a). Some believe that enterprises can reconstruct themselves profitably around the principles of integrity and honoring one’s word (Jensen 2011). Our research complements their work by showing how lies materially harm business prospects, making it possible to increase value through truth telling. In the Internet Age, both harmful and salutary information flow at increasing rates, amplifying the latent value of truth (Hayes-Roth 2011c). Promiscuous customers have little loyalty to vendors and shun untrustworthy ones as too risky. The Internet will soon offer improved mechanisms to identify liars and truth-tellers and to filter out untrustworthy messages automatically. Businesses and other organizations will need to seize the opportunities to significantly improve their truthfulness quotients. Quantitative measurements of the value of truth telling will help management steer in a positive direction.