Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University.
Dan Ariely on
We have a class of problems where we have the capacity to destroy civilization, destroy ourselves, destroy the planet, because what we're doing right now, selfishly, is not good for us in the long term. I think morality is one of those things. For each one of us, it might be good to cheat a little bit now for our immediate selfish motivation, but at the cost of deteriorating something like the social good or public trust.
In my mind, the biggest moral challenge we have has to do with global warming. This is a really complex question. It's a question about now versus later. It's a question about collaboration between different nations. It's a question where we individually cannot do very much, but the collective action is incredibly important.
When I think about global morality, I think the good news is that we're all very similar. The bad news is that, domain-by-domain specific, we can actually get very bad lessons from society around us about what is acceptable and not acceptable.