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Encyclopedia > Honor system

An honor system or honesty system is a philosophical way of running a variety of endeavors based on trust, honor, and honesty. Something that operates under the rule of the "honor system" is usually something that does not have strictly enforced rules behind its functioning. In British English, it would more often be called a "trust system" and should not be confused with the British honours system. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Trust is the belief in the good character of one party, presumed to seek to fulfill policies, ethical codes, law and their previous promises. ... Honor (or honor) comprises the reputation, self-perception or moral identity of an individual or of a group. ... Honest redirects here, For other uses, see Honesty (disambiguation) Look up honesty in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... British English (BrE, BE, en-GB) is the broad term used to distinguish the forms of the English language used in the United Kingdom from forms used elsewhere in the Anglophone world. ... The British honours system is a means of rewarding individuals personal bravery, achievement or service to the United Kingdom. ...

A person engaged in an honor system has a strong negative concept of breaking or going against it. The negatives may include community shame, loss of stature, loss of a personal sense of integrity and pride or in extreme situations, banishment from one's community.


Types of honor systems

There are various types of honor systems that may be employed:

  • A Total honor system makes no checks on its users to verify their honesty, thereby easily allowing the system to be cheated. Though the system may face occasional audits, there would be no way thereafter of learning the identity of the violator. Some are simply contingent upon the truthfullness presumed of users; others are present when the losses caused by those who may cheat the system are less costly than a higher security system.
  • Other honor systems employ random checks of selected users to ensure they are in compliance. A minority of users will undergo this check, while the remainder will be given a chance to get away with a violation. In these cases, the management of the system hopes that the fear of getting checked will coerce users into compliance.



In some places, public transportation such as trains operate on an honor system called proof-of-payment. The local government may find it impractical or overly expensive to install ticket-checking turnstiles at every station, and instead rely on casual human surveillance to check if all train riders possess tickets. In such a system one could thus ride the train without paying, and simply hope to be lucky enough to avoid a random ticket check during the trip. Though unethical, such behavior is impossible for an honor system by itself to prevent, although the behavior can be reduced by enforcing penalties for those who are caught cheating the system. A taxi serving as a bus Public transport comprises all transport systems in which the passengers do not travel in their own vehicles. ... For other uses, see Train (disambiguation). ... Proof-of-payment is a fare collection approach used on many public transportation systems. ... This article is about the pedestrian gate. ... Passengers bustle around the typical grand edifice of Londons Broad Street station in 1865. ... Ethics is a general term for what is often described as the science (study) of morality. In philosophy, ethical behavior is that which is good or right. ...

Some toll roads, including the Sawgrass Expressway near Fort Lauderdale, Florida, have unmanned toll booths in which motorists are expected to pay their tolls. When a violation occurs, an alarm may sound, and the vehicle may be photographed, but no officers will pursue the violator. The Sawgrass Expressway, also designated Florida State Road 869, is a 24-mile-long toll bypass of Broward County, Florida, extending westward from US 1 (SR 5) in Deerfield Beach as a surface street, then becoming a toll expressway as it passes Floridas Turnpike (although there is no westbound... Nickname: Coordinates: , Country State County Broward Established 27 March 1911 Government  - Type Commission-Manager  - Mayor Jim Naugle Area  - City  36. ... A toll road, turnpike or tollpike is a road on which a toll authority collects a fee for use. ...

At the baggage claim of airports, all luggage that is removed from arriving flights is placed on a common conveyor belt. From here, it is assumed that passengers will claim only their own luggage and that none will be stolen. This practice however, is controversial as claims of lost and stolen luggage have risen. For example, in 2004, a baggage handler at BWI Airport was arrested for the theft of luggage [1]. Baggage claim area at the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. ... This article is about industrial conveyor belts. ... Baltimore/Washington International Airport serves the Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, DC metro-region. ...


Some hotels, mostly in continental Europe, operate an honor bar, allowing guests to serve and record their own drinks and saving the cost of a night bartender. Patrons could theoretically lie about their drink consumption, and the hotel would have only limited powers to verify their claims. The concept of hotel "mini bars" in the United States and Canada is similar, although the stock is quantified more carefully, making it difficult to lie. Continental Europe, also referred to as mainland Europe or simply the Continent, is the continent of Europe, explicitly excluding European islands and, at times, peninsulas. ...

Many publicly funded museums and art galleries around the world ask for a certain "suggested" or "minimum" donation in exchange for admission. Patrons are almost never supervised during their donations, so there is no way of making sure the suggested minimum is being paid. The Louvre Museum in Paris, one of the largest and most famous museums in the world. ... An art gallery or art museum is a space for the exhibition of art, usually visual art, and usually primarily paintings and sculpture. ...

In the Southern Californian recreational sport fishing industry, the honor system is widely used, particularly on open party fishing boats. When the cook is occupied or in his bunk, passengers are permitted to get drinks and snacks on their own, providing they mark their own galley tab. For the urban complex straddling the United States-Mexico border, see Bajalta California. ... Sport fishing is a popular attraction in Cabo San Lucas Sport fishing is a term (often used interchangeably with game fishing) that describes recreational fishing where the primary reward is the challenge of finding and catching the fish rather than the culinary or financial value of the fishs flesh. ... A bill is a document requesting payment for goods previously supplied. ...

National and State parks and some private parks often use an honor system to collect their admission fees. Rather than having a manned booth, they have a drop box where money can be inserted, either directly, or in an envelope. Sometimes, the envelope contains a stub that is removed and placed on the guest's vehicle. Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada A national park is a reserve of land, usually, but not always (see National Parks of England and Wales), declared and owned by a national government, protected from most human development and pollution. ... State park is a term used in the United States and in Mexico for an area of land preserved on account of its natural beauty, historic interest, recreation, or other reason, and under the administration of the government of a U.S. state or one of the states of Mexico. ...

Many International borders do not thoroughly check all persons passing the checkpoints for required documents or contraband. When the security threat at the crossing is perceived by the nation's government to be low, checks may be conducted only on random persons or vehicles. Border has several different, but related meanings: Generic borders A border can consist of a margin around the edge of something, such as a lawn, garden, photograph, or sheet of paper. ... The term checkpoint may refer to: A place at which vehicles or pedestrians are stopped in order to enforce laws or security measures. ... For Microsoft Corporation’s “universal login” service, formerly known as Microsoft Passport Network, see Windows Live ID. For other types of travel document, see Travel document. ... Contraband consists of items of which possession may be illegal, depending on the variety and the country or the age or sex of the possessor. ...


In some colleges, the honor system is used to administer tests unsupervised. Students are generally asked to sign an honor code statement that says they will not cheat or use unauthorized resources when taking the test. As an example, at the University of Virginia a student taking an examination is required to sign and include the following pledge: "On my honor as a student I have neither given nor received aid on this assignment/examination." Memphis University School, a college preparatory school uses a system modeled after that of the University of Virginia. There is but one penalty for transgression of the honor code, and that is dismissal from the University. The students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill also maintain a student-run honor system. Students maintain the integrity of the university by pledging not to cheat, steal or lie. Unlike the University of Virginia, the honor system at Chapel Hill allows for different sanctions, ranging from written letter of warranty to expulsion. This allows the punishment to be more educational than simply punitive. An honor code or honor system is a set of rules or principles governing a community based on a set of rules or ideals that define what constitutes honorable behavior within that community. ... The University of Virginia (also called U.Va. ... Memphis University School (MUS) is an all-male private school for grades 7–12, located in Memphis, Tennessee. ... The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a public, coeducational, research university located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States. ...

Crime and Justice

When an arrestee is released on bail, s/he is trusted to show up to court and to meet all other requirements. For other uses, see Arrest (disambiguation). ... The word bail as a legal term means: Security, usually a sum of money, exchanged for the release of an arrested person as a guarantee of that persons appearance for trial. ...

Some lower security inmates at prisons are granted furloughs and allowed to temporarily leave the boundaries of the penitentiary for various reasons with the expectation they will return voluntarily when due without absconding. The reasons for departure may be for employment, education, recreation, or attending family events (such as weddings or funerals). Look up Furlough in Wiktionary, the free dictionary A furlough (IPA: ) is temporary leave of absence, especially from duty in the armed services or from a prison term. ... Nuptial is the adjective of wedding. It is used for example in zoology to denote plumage, coloration, behavior, etc related to or occurring in the mating season. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


Another example can be seen in fundraising drives. Many charities distribute boxes of confectionery to businesses, which are placed in waiting rooms or similar for people to purchase items from. The confectionery is free to be removed by anyone who wishes to take it, and there is no enforcing of payment other than through the expectation of honesty. Indeed, most such boxes of confectionery bear the comment Your honesty is appreciated near where money is deposited. // Legal definitions A charity is a trust, company or unincorporated association established for charitable purposes only. ... It has been suggested that Candy be merged into this article or section. ... Honest redirects here, For other uses, see Honesty (disambiguation) Look up honesty in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

In many places of worship, those partaking in events with compulsory fees are expected to pay their dues, though most such institutions do not enforce payment. There is a general assumption of trust in most religious settings. Taken during a Hindu prayer ceremony on the eve of Diwali. ...


Most supermarket chains allow customers to scan their own groceries with handheld laser guns while placing them in their own carts. While the system gives customers the ability to place groceries in their bags without paying, and customers can be randomly audited, participating supermarkets have reported that this experimental system has not increased the amount of shoplifting [2]. Exterior of a typical British supermarket (a Tesco Extra) Exterior of typical North American supermarket (a Safeway) This Flagship Randalls store in Houston, Texas is an example of an upscale supermarket. ... Experiment with a laser (US Military) In physics, a laser is a device that emits light through a specific mechanism for which the term laser is an acronym: Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. ... For the band Shoplifting see Shoplifting (band), for the album released by Straw, see Shoplifting (album). ...

Many hardware superstores, including Home Depot, allow customers to place small items, such as screws, into bags, then label the bags along with the exact price and quantity of the item they are purchasing. The system, which can be easily cheated, is contingent upon the honesty of customers, and is labeled in many stores as an "honor system." The Home Depot (NYSE: HD) is an American retailer of home improvement and construction products. ... Screws come in a variety of shapes and sizes for different purposes. ...


In many places where an honor system is used, it has been found to be cost-effective. Many businesses and organizations using an honor system have determined that the cost of maintaining staff to enforce proper payment outweighs the losses caused by the percentage of the population who are willing to cheat the system.

For the remainder of the popular, the honor system gives a more welcoming feeling to customers. Those who are treated with trust may be more likely to return to the location, and thereby increase the amount of business.

Criticism of the concept

Deciding whether or not to obey an honor system can be a dilemma, especially if one places his or her personal financial self interest above the interest of the institution he or she is patronizing. Honor systems are often criticized for promoting laziness and bad behavior. Some have suggested it is paradoxical to ask people to obey a law if there is no readily apparent agent of enforcement. See also Gregory S. Kavka's toxin puzzle, discussing the paradoxical nature of "rewarding intent." Look up Dilemma in Wiktionary, the free dictionary For the Nelly song, see Dilemma (song). ... Self-interest can refer to any of the following concepts: Egoism Selfishness Ethical egoism Psychological egoism Individualism Objectivist ethics Hedonism Epicureanism Enlightened self-interest This is a disambiguation page: a list of articles associated with the same title. ... Look up paradox in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Kavkas toxin puzzle is a thought experiment about the possibility of forming an intention to perform an act which, following from reason, it is an action one would not actually perform. ...

Notable academic Honor systems

Many military academies have strict Honor systems, such as:

There are also traditional liberal arts and technical universities that maintain Honor systems: “USMA” redirects here. ... The United States Naval Academy (USNA) is an institution for the undergraduate education of officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps and is in Annapolis, Maryland . ... The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA or Air Force),[1] located immediately north of Colorado Springs in El Paso County, Colorado, United States, is an institution for the undergraduate education of officers for the United States Air Force. ... The Virginia Military Institute (VMI), located in Lexington, Virginia, is the oldest state military college in the United States. ... The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, is a state-supported, comprehensive college located in Charleston, South Carolina. ... Norwich University (NU) is a private university located in Northfield, Vermont. ...

JMU redirects here. ... , Brigham Young University Brigham Young University (BYU), located in Provo, Utah, is the flagship university of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon Church). ... The College of William and Mary in Virginia is a public, liberal-arts university located in Williamsburg, Virginia. ... Haverford College is a private, coeducational liberal arts college located in Haverford, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. ... Washington and Lee University is a private liberal arts college in Lexington, Virginia. ... Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, better known as Virginia Tech, is a public land grant polytechnic university in Blacksburg, Virginia, U.S. Although it is a comprehensive university with many departments, the agriculture, engineering, architecture, forestry, and veterinary medicine programs from its historical polytechnic core are still considered to... The University of Virginia (also called U.Va. ... The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a public, coeducational, research university located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States. ... The University of the South is a private, coeducational liberal arts college located in Sewanee, Tennessee. ... Hampden-Sydney College is a liberal arts college for men located in Hampden-Sydney, Virginia. ... The University of Mary Washington (formerly Mary Washington College) is a coeducational, selective, state-funded, four-year liberal arts college and a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges in Fredericksburg, Virginia about 55 miles (88 km) north of Richmond and 45 miles (80 km) south of Washington... For other people and places of the same name, see Gustaf Adolf (disambiguation). ... Rhodes College is a four-year, private liberal arts college located in Memphis, Tennessee. ... The California Institute of Technology (commonly referred to as Caltech)[1] is a private, coeducational research university located in Pasadena, California, in the United States. ... “Stanford” redirects here. ... Texas A&M University redirects here. ... Lovett Hall William Marsh Rice University (commonly called Rice University and opened in 1912 as The William Marsh Rice Institute for the Advancement of Letters, Science and Art) is a private, comprehensive research university located in Houston, Texas, USA, near the Museum District and adjacent to the Texas Medical Center. ... Dartmouth College is a private, coeducational university located in Hanover, New Hampshire, in the United States. ... Princeton University is a private coeducational research university located in Princeton, New Jersey. ... Kansas State University, officially called Kansas State University of Fashion and Design [2] but commonly shortened to K-State, is an institution of higher learning located in Manhattan, Kansas, in the United States. ... Davidson College is a private liberal arts college for 1,700 students in Davidson, North Carolina, USA. Both the town and college were named for Brigadier General William Lee Davidson, a Revolutionary War commander. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Reed College is a private, independent liberal arts college located in Portland, Oregon. ... Wheaton College is the name of two colleges in the United States: Wheaton College, Illinois Wheaton College, Massachusetts External Links Wheaton College (Illinois) Wheaton College (Massachusetts) This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Knox College is a four-year coeducational private liberal arts college located in Galesburg, Illinois. ...

See also

  Results from FactBites:
Honor System I & A Procedures (1335 words)
Honor Pledge violation cases requiring a hearing panel during the summer and the inter-sessions may be tabled by the Director until the beginning of the subsequent fall or spring semester.
The Honor System Director and Associate Director prepare an annual report of the previous year’s Honor System activities at the beginning of fall semester and present it to the Provost, Faculty Senate, Student Senate, Graduate Student Council and Graduate Council.
The Honor Council may recommend that the Provost remove the Director of the Honor System on the grounds of malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance in office by two-thirds vote of the membership selected and qualified.
  More results at FactBites »



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