Editor's Note

The other day my wife found that her bank, JP Morgan Chase, had been charging her $25 a month in bank fees for who knows what. She called up the bank and it promptly dropped the fees and refunded the money it had charged her. An honest mistake? Maybe. But probably not. In fact, major corporations make boatloads of money by improperly assessing fees on consumers. They will cheerfully remove these fees when people complain, but many people never get around to complaining. Welcome to the Cheating Culture. It's a culture in which otherwise upstanding citizens routinely rip people off, shade the truth, pad the facts, and otherwise cut corners to get ahead for financial and professional gain. Too often they get away with it -- especially if they are powerful companies. That is why we are here. We've had enough and we were founded to expose the lies and deceptions -- to stop them where we can. But to succeed, we need your help. So please share your stories and send us your tips.

-- David Callahan

About CheatingCulture



CheatingCulture.com seeks to expose cheating across American life and highlight ways to build a fairer, more ethical society. We define cheating as the violation of established rules or ethical principles for financial, professional, or academic gain. We do not focus attention on lies, infidelities, and scandals in the strictly personal sphere. Our main concern is cheating that involves the abuse of power and privilege, particularly by private sector actors, which results in losses or hardship for others.  

Our Framework

We attribute the epidemic of cheating in America to several factors. First, high levels of economic inequality mean bigger paychecks for winners and larger incentives for people to cut corners to succeed. Second, today's widespread insecurity can lead ordinary Americans to feel they must cheat just to survive. Third, a failure of oversight across many sectors means that cheating often goes unpunished, especially by the powerful. Finally, America's highly individualistic culture -- which glorifies wealth, status, and personal gratification -- is conducive to cheating. Long-term solutions to cheating must address its root economic and cultural causes, but much progress can also be made by strengthening watchdogs and exposing wrongdoing. 

How We Work 

CheatingCulture.com includes a mix  of blog commentary, original reporting, news aggregation, and online community. We provide critical analysis of ethical wrongdoing, explaining the systemic factors that  drive such behavior and calling for tougher action and reforms. We comment on high-profile cases, but we also seek to spotlight  abuses that go largely ignored by the media or law enforcement agencies. We work to be fair to all individuals and institutions who are accused of wrongdoing and we do not pursue stories simply for their titillation value. We recognize the complex challenges of living an ethical life in a society where cheating is often normalized and in professions where rational incentives often exist to cut corners. We evaluate all available evidence carefully and do not rush to judgment. We are responsive to comments and complaints about our work. 


The success of this site depends on a vibrant community of contributors. Please contact us if you’re interested in getting involved as a blogger or reporter or wish to contribute your talents in other ways. (Learn more here.) Please also visit our forums to share your stories, experiences, and insights. And if you have ideas for how to improve the site, or areas that we should be focusing on, please let us know.

About Us

David Callahan, PhD, Founder and Editor

David Callahan is co-founder of Demos, a public policy institute based in New York City where he now serves as a Senior Fellow. He is author of The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead – the book that inspired the creation of CheatingCulture.com. Since publishing The Cheating Culture, David has appeared at colleges and universities around the country to discuss issues of ethics and academic integrity. He has also spoken to numerous business groups and appeared on dozens of television and radio programs to comment on high-profile scandals in sports, business, and academia. (Learn more about David's speaking.) In addition to The Cheating Culture, David is the author of a number of other books, including The Moral Center, a look at values and politics, and Kindred Spirits, a history of the Harvard Business School Class of 1949. David received his B.A. at Hampshire College and his PhD at Princeton University. (More About David Callahan.) Contact David.