Third party punishment
More ‘altruistic’ punishment in larger societies
If individuals will cooperate with cooperators, and punish non-cooperators even at a cost to themselves, then this strong reciprocity could minimize the cheating that undermines cooperation. Based upon numerous economic experiments, some have proposed that human cooperation is explained by strong reciprocity and norm enforcement. Second-party punishment is when you punish someone who defected on you; third-party punishment is when you punish someone who defected on someone else. Third-party punishment is an effective way to enforce the norms of strong reciprocity and promote cooperation. Here we present new results that expand on a previous report from a large cross-cultural project. This project has already shown that there is considerable cross-cultural variation in punishment and cooperation. Here we test the hypothesis that population size (and complexity) predicts the level of third-party punishment. Our results show that people in larger, more complex societies engage in significantly more third-party punishment than people in small-scale societies.
In Chinese history, surrendered enemy soldiers were often executed during battle because such enemy soldiers considered not loyal to the master. Captured enemy who want to die for his master actually often was spared.
Yet, negotiated surrender during peace was often accepted without execution because enemy soldiers or commander were `enlightened' by negotiator to switch side for `justice'.
Similar third party punishment in ancient west is Alexander the greast. Alexander continued his pursuit of Darius for hundreds of miles from Persepolis. When he finally caught up to him, he found the Persian king dead in his coach, assassinated by his own men. Alexander had the assassins executed and gave Darius a royal funeral.