Honesty is the best policy feel the Mumbaikars!
Perceptions could be very misleading. The developed nations are perceived to have a more honest society than their developing counterparts. But the results that have emerged from a global society experiment conducted by the Reader’s Digest magazine are both startling as well as eye opening.
The experiment in itself was a very simple one. 16 cities from across the world spanning four continents were chosen.
The list included cities like New York City (USA), Moscow (Russia), London (UK), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Berlin (Germany), Zurich (Switzerland), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Helsinki (Finland), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Budapest (Hungary), Bucharest (Romania), Warsaw (Poland), Lisbon (Portugal), Prague (Czech Republic), Madrid (Spain) and Mumbai (India).
In the experiment, 12 wallets filled with cash equivalent to $50 in the local currency, contact details, photo identities and personal documents, making it easier to trace the wallets back to their rightful owners, were dropped in each of the 16 selected cities. The areas selected for the “drop” were crowded public places like shopping malls, footpaths, parking lots and gardens. After the wallets were dropped, the researchers waited for people who found the wallets to call back in search of the wallet owners.
Out of the 192 wallets dropped in the cities worldwide, nearly half, 47 % to be exact, were returned back.
But the real shocker came in the form of the standings of the cities on the honesty index that the experiment threw at the end.
Helsinki, the capital of the Scandinavian country of Finland was the most honest city with 11 out of the 12 wallets being returned back there.
Then there were surprises galore. India, which is much castigated for its deep rooted corruption, sprang a real surprise with the city of Mumbai coming in second with 9 out of the 12 wallets returned back.
New York and Budapest followed Mumbai in the list. London was 9th and the wealthy city of Zurich came a dismal 11th among the 16 cities, where only 4 out of the 12 wallets were returned.
Only 1 wallet was returned in the Portuguese capital city of Lisbon which came last in the "Honesty Test".
The final list of the most honest cities as per the Reader's Digest's “Lost Wallet Test" is as under:
1 Helsinki, Finland - 11 out of 12 wallets
2 Mumbai, India - 9 out of 12
3 Budapest, Hungary - 8 out of 12
3 New York City, USA - 8 out of 12
5 Moscow, Russia - 7 out of 12
5 Amsterdam, Netherlands - 7 out of 12
7 Berlin, Germany - 6 out of 12
7 Ljubljana, Slovenia - 6 out of 12
9 London, UK - 5 out of 12
9 Warsaw, Poland - 5 out of 12
11 Bucharest, Romania - 4 out of 12
11 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 4 out of 12
11 Zurich, Switzerland - 4 out of 12
14 Prague, Czech Republic - 3 out of 12
15 Madrid, Spain - 2 out of 12
16 Lisbon, Portugal - 1 out of 12
This simple experiment has destroyed a notion that more often than none it is the poor who are more dishonest than the rich. In the test, age, sex or how rich or poor a region is, had no effect on whether people returned back the wallets or not.
Mumbai, the home to a huge mass of resilient people came up triumphs in this “Honesty Test”. The people in the “Maximum City” may be deprived of many things that in most other parts of the world would be termed as necessities, but for them “Honesty Remains the Best Policy”.
A salute to that spirit!