back to article Germans announce: Revenge is inefficient

In development which should strike fear into the hearts of action-movie scriptwriters and BOFHs everywhere, remorselessly efficient German economists have calculated that revenge is inefficient. According to the German national socio-economic database, vengeful people are more likely to be unemployed, have fewer friends and …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward

    chicken, egg?

    But are you jobless and friendless because you believe in revenge, or do you believe in revenge because you don't have any friends and you are unemployed?

    or is there a third factor that causes a desire so see your enemies vanquished and that keeps both friends and jobs away?

    Further research and funding is obviously needed! (Never produce a result that doesn't require further study ;)

  2. Anonymous Coward

    I guess they've never experience the joy of a clue bat

    "Nuff said. Getting my coat now.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I suppose

    I suppose that this was also released from the office of stating the obvious?

    Anyone who thinks revenge pays works in Government.

  4. Nigel

    Obvious, really.

    Tit for tat loses you a friend or other goodwill every time you retalliate for something that was not under the other party's control (which will be quite often). Vengeance means escalation, which is even worse.

    A better way "never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence" (and not necessarily incompetence first-hand by the person or organisation you are dealing with). There's a lot more incompetence out there than there is malice. So tell the other party what is wrong and what they can do to make it right. And if that fails, and it's too small a deal to resort to lawyers, there are better things to do with one's life than adding another chip on one's shoulder.

    Tux, because penguins don't have shoulders to carry chips on.

  5. Pete Silver badge

    inefficient? doubt it!

    Far from being inefficient, it looks like all the german shrinks have demonstrated is that socially isolated, vindictive people like to take revenge. On top of that, they've made a slew of value judgements about what kind of lifestyle is "better" (or possibly closer to some sort of cliched ideal), without having any way of measuring the efficiency of one approach over another.

    Given that "efficiency" can be thought of as achieving your goats with the minimum expenditure of (your) energy, then if revenge, or the possibility that you'll go postal on them, puts the fear of god up your adversaries - or workmates - often the same people - then it can be an extremely efficient way of getting your objectives met.

    To quote the originator of management "how to" books, Machiavelli: It's better to be feared than loved, if you can't be both.

  6. goggyturk

    National Socio-economic database?

    Ha ha!!!! Subtlety on a Friday afternoon - bravo sir!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Captain Picard said the same long ago

    The second ferengi episode iirc. Where the ferengi big-bad was eventually removed for pursuing revenge instead of profit.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So shit begets shit

    no shit Sherlock.

    Looks like whoever commissioned this study is trying to take their revenge on society :)

  9. Vincent Ballard

    Lex talionis

    "anyone who prefers to act according to the Old Testament motto of 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth' has on average less friends – and is clearly less than satisfied with his or her life."

    Makes it sounds as though the only options are retaliation in kind or non-retaliation, which complete ignores the purpose of the "motto": to limit revenge. If you really want to see someone without many friends, try someone who would literally kill someone who knocked out his tooth.

  10. Damien Thorn


    it only took 2 world wars and one world cup.

  11. breakfast

    Only fair

    It seems only fair to me that vengeful people should have a chance to get their own back on these guys.

  12. Mike Richards Silver badge


    'Institut für Gesellschafts und Wirtschaftswissenschaften'

    You just know that business card comes in 16:9 format.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Sounds familiar

    "anyone who prefers to act according to the Old Testament motto of 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth' has on average less friends"

    See: Israel.

  14. Steve

    has on average less friends

    That would be "fewer" friends

    P. Dant

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Huh, I misread that.

    Thought that said "Revenge is Insufficient".

  16. Anonymous Coward

    If it wasn't for you peskiy German scientists

    I'd have got my revenge on the world!

  17. Anonymous Coward

    This fits in with various revenge truisms

    The fewer friend bit works in tandem with "Revenge is a dish best served cold" in a world (or galaxy, given the Star Trek origin of this cliche) where most people like to sit down to hot meals.

    "Resentment is someone using your mind for free" reinforces both the fewer friends and less employment prospects angle

    Mines the oilskin coat with the white whale fish-finder in the pocket...

  18. duncan campbell

    Took How Long to figure that out?


    The prof also says that, at least in Germany, "anyone who prefers to act according to the Old Testament motto of 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth' has on average less friends – and is clearly less than satisfied with his or her life."


    People who live by that old testament sh*t have, on average, less teeth, eyes, AND brains.


  19. Alice Andretti

    "Don't worry, be happy"

    Some "happy" people are simply too stupid and dense to ever realize they've been screwed over, so of course they never engage in revenge. "Don't worry, be happy" works just fine for them. They often go through life as complete doormats and they're too clueless to even realize it.

    As to the article's assertion about "negatively reciprocal vindictive types" and "managers find them difficult to motivate (unlike positively-reciprocal sorts, who respond to bonuses or free company drinks by working harder or longer)" that a bunch of bullsh*t - in REALITY there are people who are both excellent workers (self-motivated, highly efficient, not slackers, work WITHOUT having to be told or supervised, don't pad their timecards, AND get along just fine with their co-workers, have plenty of friends, etc), AND who don't put up with any crap. So the whole premise of the study is flawed.

    That article seems like typical worthless academic tunnel-vision, considering extremes that don't fit with reality.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It depends...

    ...on the anticipated result. If you get screwed and do nothing, the person concerned may consider you to be weak and direct further crap your way (This is especially true in Germany). On the other hand, if you think the result of retaliation would ultimately be worse for yourself, it would be pretty stupid to proceed. Of course, like Alice said, it's best if everyone just gets on with their work so that everyone can get to the next weekend with the minimum of stress. Sadly, there are some people who seem to thrive on conflict, so it's rarely that simple.

  21. Schick
    Paris Hilton

    @ Damein Dorn and his 3 Cups

    "Two World Wars & one World Cup" ?? Oh dear oh dear. What a knee-slapper. The Bayerische National Guard ist rollink in the aisles.

    Paris cause, well, you know, Paris...geddit?...she too thinks she's got it...and did.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: clue bat

    round here it's called a LART

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ... mention the war!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    come on, you cannot really believe the phrase comes orginally from StarTrek :)

    Centuries of culture mashed together into laser wielding, plot supported liberal heroism, that is StarTrek, it plunders from everything. Is there anything original in that series?

    This whole 'research' is about the Germans wanting to be forgiven for WWII and the Holocaust.

    Friendships are gotten by charisma, good friendships loyalty, revenge is the response to injustice,

    Captain's Log

    Stardate BlahBlah

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Don't sweat the small stuff"

    As others have observed, this was already fairly well-known advice in many other forms.

  26. ratfox
    Paris Hilton


    Actually, this could be easily the subject of a study:

    "dumb people are more happy"

    I believe it's likely to be true.

    PH icon... well, no need to explain!

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Vindictive is not the same as assertive ("doesn't put up with any crap")

    An assertive person will seek reparation for wrongs ("I'm going to make sure I get extra time off because I've done 60 hours this week with no extra pay"). A vindictive person seeks revenge ("I'm going to ignore that fault in the product rather than report it because they've made me work 60 hours this week with no extra pay"). The assertive person might get some time off; the vindictive person could lose their job.

    The study is interesting in that it shows some concrete evidence for something that many people believed to be true: revenge is counter-productive in the long term.

  28. Filippo

    Re "Don't worry, be happy"

    You are not thinking statistically. Sure good workers that are vengeful exist. This, however, doesn't disprove the study in the least. Statistics ain't about "everyone" or "noone". You can't disprove a statistics study simply by providing a counterexample, because it could be an outlier.

    Also, you seem to assume that, when I get screwed over, my only options are either do nothing, or take revenge. Hint - in order to find an optimal solution to a problem, you need to consider all solutions and pick the one with the best result.

  29. D. M

    The problem is

    Majority of people are too stupid, to know who they should turn their anger on. The world would do better only if we know the difference.

    IMO, the wicked must be punished, there is no such thing as over punishment.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Inefficient revenge is inefficient. This is why the dispassionate sociopath is so much better at it. But I truly believe the rest of us can improve!

  31. Ben

    Only failures bear grudges

    If you hated your employer and had any trace of ability and self-respect you would find yourself a better job.

    If you're too mediocre to do that, then I guess bearing counter-productive grudges is your last pointless resort, the adult's version of throwing your toys out of the pram.

  32. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    The Germans say revenge is inefficient.

    GET THEM!!!!!!!

  33. Stephen

    Depends on the form of revenge.

    "Anyone can become angry -- that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way -- this is not easy." - Aristotle

  34. Dave


    Not condoning or anything, but surely a bullet to the other guys head is a lot quicker and easier than making him like you - especially if you are a bit socially reclusive to begin with.

    Or is that too logical for a scientist?

  35. Geoff Mackenzie

    @duncan campbell

    True, but, on the other hand, they often have more fingers and toes.

  36. Mark Donnison

    Don't worry, be happy.

    Whenever I am wallowing in negativity, feeling like I would like to drag someone outside, by their face and beat the snot out of them. I turn on the news, there is nothing like seeing ordinary people dragging themselves out of some natural dissaster to make you realise how small and pathetic you are being.

    Thoughts of revenge and retribution hurt you more than your oppressor, they take over your thoughts, effect your actions and rob you of happiness. Rise above it and move on.

    And if you ever find yourself in the position to **** them over without any danger of reprisal or a backlash, seize it with both hands and **** em good and for as long as you can get away with. Bastards!

    Damn, sorry, lost it at the end there.................................. be happy!

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021