The Brooklyn Law School Library New Books List for December 1, 2017 has 49 print titles and 28 e-book titles. Subjects range from criminal justice and judicial error; same-sex marriage; writing skills of US Presidents; history of New York, NY; impeachment of US Presidents; prisons and privatization; and mourning customs, to name a few. Cheating: Ethics and Law in Everyday Life by Stanford Law School Professor Deborah L. Rhode, is one e-book worth reading as it deals with law and ethics and cheating. Cheating, a phenomenon so entrenched in everyday American life, costs close to a trillion dollars annually. Why it remains a serious problem is that it is often excused by the statement that “Everyone does it”. The more that individuals believe that cheating is widespread, the easier it is to justify. If Americans are cheating more, they appear to be worrying about it less. Rhode, rejects the “everybody does it” rationale and sees the ubiquity in deceit as uncomfortably close to a universal human truth. She offers the only recent comprehensive account of cheating in everyday life and the strategies necessary to address it. Because cheating is highly situational, Rhode drills down on its most common forms in sports, organizations, taxes, academia, copyright infringement, marriage, and insurance and mortgages.
The book reviews needed strategies to address the pervasiveness of cheating. Efforts need to begin early, with education by parents, teachers, and other role models who can display and reinforce moral behaviors. Organizations need to create ethical cultures, in which informal norms, formal policies, and reward structures all promote integrity. People need more moral triggers to remind them of their own values. Also important are more effective enforcement structures, including additional resources and stiffer sanctions. Rhode, the founding president of the International Association of Legal Ethics, former president of the Association of American Law Schools, and former founding director of Stanford’s Center on Ethics, notes that cheating has evolved with time. Technology has transformed some forms of cheating with filesharing, downloading of music on the internet, or plagiarism, lifting stuff off the internet, whole sites on the internet that enable people to just cut and paste their term papers and have somebody else even write their paper on plagiarism. She states in an interview with Tavis Smiley that over half of taxpayers admit to cheating sometimes on their forms. 80% of high school students will admit that they’ve cheated in class. The pervasiveness and the persistence of it is what should give us pause because there’s a price tag to it.