Why people obey the law?

The conclusion to Tom Tyler’s book “Why People Obey the Law” published by Princeton University Press reads:

People obey the law if they believe it’s legitimate, not because they fear punishment–this is the startling conclusion of Tom Tyler’s classic study. Tyler suggests that lawmakers and law enforcers would do much better to make legal systems worthy of respect than to try to instill fear of punishment. He finds that people obey law primarily because they believe in respecting legitimate authority.

I have wondered if the results would make any difference if a similar study is conducted in Singapore where people tend to impose rules and obey them without further consideration of its rationale and whether it makes sense.

In Singapore, residents in public housing are allowed to keep certain breeds of dogs but all cats are prohibited. According to the Housing & Development Board, the rationale is,

Cats are not allowed in flats. They are generally difficult to contain within the flat. When allowed to roam indiscriminately, they tend to shed fur and defecate or urinate in public areas, and also make caterwauling sounds, which can inconvenience your neighbours.

What absurdity! Please get your facts and priorities right. First, there is a difference between a domestic indoor cat and a stray (or feral). Second, what the public authority should be targeting is to stop people from abandoning their cats. The rule might inadvertently increase the number of people who abandon their cats. Third, what they should be encouraging is responsible ownership and that includes sterilising cats. The rule is essentially redundant for households that sterilise their cats and keep them indoors. I’m dumbfounded by the nonsensical and rigid mindset behind this policy. But then again, I shouldn’t be surprised ~ it is Singapore.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.