Lynn Stout


On her book Cultivating Conscience: How Good Laws Make Good People

Cover Interview of November 17, 2010


We ignore the force of conscience at our peril.  The scientific evidence demonstrates that we can craft better laws and rules by employing critical social cues to encourage more unselfish, ethical behavior in many realms—including politics and business.  By the same token, we can also encourage selfishness, opportunism, and illegality.

I wrote this book to show how our current emphasis on self-interest and material incentives may have contributed to the catastrophic political missteps and financial scandals of recent memory by encouraging corrupt and selfish actions, and by undermining society’s collective moral compass.  If we care about effective laws and civilized society, the powers of conscience are simply too important for us to ignore.

© 2010 Lynn Stout