To Succeed in America One Must Be Honest
Here’s some advice I gave to a young man who’s just moving to the USA from another country: “You can succeed in America if you are hard working, capable, and honest.” He said, “I can understand the hard working and capable, but why honest?” I said, “People here in the USA really hate dishonesty, at least people who are of a higher class. Some lower class people in America, like some lower class people everywhere, may not place much importance on honesty, but most higher-class people in America for sure place great importance on it. If they find out you’ve been dishonest to them, they just won’t deal with you any more. You know, people wonder why they get passed over for promotions, when they’ve been hard-working and capable, but that may be why – they may not have been 100% honest when dealing with other people…”
So, to succeed in America, be honest. Don’t exaggerate, don’t misrepresent, don’t bend things. If someone asks you something you don’t want to tell him, just say so, “Sorry, I can’t tell you that” or “Ah, that’s confidential.” People in America will respect you for being a “straight-shooting”, reliable person. Whatever you do, don’t make up something for an answer; don’t lie.
Why is America like that? That’s because American society has the most free market type of ideology, and free market ideology despises dishonesty. For a free market to be successful, the exchange of goods and services has to be reliable. Fraud, along with stealing and robbery, destroys the reliability of exchange and therefore destroys free exchange and the free market itself. Thus Americans hate dishonesty.
Feng Xin-ming 冯欣明