Germans announce: Revenge is inefficient
If only we'd discovered this sooner
In development which should strike fear into the hearts of action-movie scriptwriters and BOFHs everywhere, remorselessly efficient German economists have calculated that revenge is inefficient.
According to the German national socio-economic database, vengeful people are more likely to be unemployed, have fewer friends and are less satisfied with their lives than those who occasionally let a bad turn go unpunished.
The new analysis comes from profs at the University of Bonn, using data from the Deutsche Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (German Institute for Economic Research), which carries out widespread surveys among the German people. There was also involvement by researchers in Holland and other countries.
In a survey of 20,000 Germans, respondents - along with the usual answers about employment, satisfaction, number of chums etc. - were asked what their attitude was to the "eye for an eye" school of thought, referred to by the profs as "reciprocity".
Positive reciprocity is the "one good turn deserves another" version, whereas negative reciprocity is for those who simply will not let it lie.
"Both positive and negative reciprocity are widespread in Germany", declares Professor Doktor Armin Falk of the Institut für Gesellschafts- und Wirtschaftswissenschaften at Bonn University, summarising the results.
But it seems that the negatively reciprocal vindictive types don't have nearly as good a time. In particular they are much more likely to be unemployed than others, which Falk puts down to the fact that managers find them difficult to motivate (unlike positively-reciprocal sorts, who respond to bonuses or free company drinks by working harder or longer). Even worse, attempts to discipline the irascible, vengeful slacker will lead to trouble: go-slows, or even sabotage.
"On the basis of these theoretical considerations it would be natural to expect that negatively reciprocal people are more likely to lose their jobs," says Falk. "A supposition which coincides with our results."
The prof also says that, at least in Germany, "anyone who prefers to act according to the Old Testament motto of 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth' has on average less friends – and is clearly less than satisfied with his or her life."
The profs publish their paper Homo Reciprocans: Survey Evidence on Behavioural Outcomes in this month's Economic Journal, and online here (subscription required). ®
Don't worry, be happy.
Whenever I am wallowing in negativity, feeling like I would like to drag someone outside, by their face and beat the snot out of them. I turn on the news, there is nothing like seeing ordinary people dragging themselves out of some natural dissaster to make you realise how small and pathetic you are being.
Thoughts of revenge and retribution hurt you more than your oppressor, they take over your thoughts, effect your actions and rob you of happiness. Rise above it and move on.
And if you ever find yourself in the position to **** them over without any danger of reprisal or a backlash, seize it with both hands and **** em good and for as long as you can get away with. Bastards!
Damn, sorry, lost it at the end there.................................. be happy!
True, but, on the other hand, they often have more fingers and toes.
Not condoning or anything, but surely a bullet to the other guys head is a lot quicker and easier than making him like you - especially if you are a bit socially reclusive to begin with.
Or is that too logical for a scientist?