The WSJ has an interesting article in the front section about game theory, specifically a game which allows players to pool resources and receive rewards. In order to test how different cultures deal with collaboration – and, just as importantly, non-contributors – players are allowed to hoard their own resources and still share in the general spoils, thus becoming freeloaders. The next twist is to allow contributors to punish freeloaders, which in many cultures shames them into contributing to the general fund.
Many cultures, but not all:
Among students in the U.S., Switzerland, China and the U.K., those identified as freeloaders most often took their punishment as a spur to contribute more generously. But in Oman, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Greece and Russia, the freeloaders more often struck back, retaliating against those who punished them, even against those who had given most to everyone’s benefit. It was akin to rapping the knuckles of the helping hand.