Editor's note: SAT scores for all of South Korea have been invalidated because of rampant cheating. Many students are leaving the country to still take the test. More here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014241278873237...
Editor's note 2: SB to anyone that can give a compelling reason as to why you shouldn't cheat (other than getting caught)
My question: Why not cheat ? Prevailing anti-cheat wisdom asserts that a habitual cheater will eventually run out of options and that his misdeeds will eventually catch up to him. In the real world, this doesn't appear to be the case. Morality and afterlife concerns aside, where are the disincentives? Consider the following examples:
Ex. 1) An international student pays someone to write all of his essays in college, majors in Economics/Math, perhaps cheats in that field as well, but eventually embarks upon a career in which recruitment is heavily institutionalized and therefore prone to having leaks in the system. Given that there are banks that hand out offers without actual face to face meetings, there's a high likelihood that this kid completely flies under the radar. It's not like high level English is necessary for making pitchbooks, nor is econometrics necessary for running anmodel- once he's in, he's in.
Ex. 2) Student pays for someone to take the SAT for him, has his parents write his high school and college application essays, and gets into a target school. Or he disingenuously declares himself to be of Native American descent. He majors in the humanities, finagles his way into aforementioned institutionalized recruiting process through "networking", and never applies to graduate school of any kind, thereby eliminating the need to ever again take a test. Sure, he has to put in the hours, but he's already assumed to be smart once he's obtained the requisite pedigree.
In both cases it is not immediately when, if at all, the cheating that took place will actually manifest itself in some negative way in their career; on the contrary, the effects seem mostly positive- success compounds upon itself and someone that manages to find a job at a prestigious institution from the get go is more likely to move to the next prestigious step than someone that "did the right thing". The idea that "cheating will eventually catch up to the cheater" doesn't really apply because the hardest part appears to be getting in, and things actually get easier as one progresses through the system.
I guess my main question is: in a world where individuals can be born with tremendous advantages and pedigree- wealthy parents, a privileged education and upbringing, pre-existing social networks, and pretty much a job in hand no matter what the hell happens, has your view on cheating changed? Do cheaters really win?