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Arien Mack Editor’s Introduction THE DECISION TO EDIT AN ISSUE ON FRAUD UNFORTUNATELY REFLECTS the sense ofthe times we are living through in this country. Although it seems highly likely that fraud has always been an aspect of social life, it now seems to have virtually taken over. Instances range from the often harm less fraud of pretending to be someone one is not on the Internet to the far more serious instances of megabilliondollar corporations defrauding th eir shareholders and causing them to lose their life savings; a high or low governm ent official defrauding the electorate, w hether in the service of taking us to war or simply enacting rules and laws that harm us; a drug company defrauding consumers about the wonders of its new drug and caus­ ing lethal harm; or, finally, our world of consumerism, in which advertisers reign supreme and have as their m étier the defrauding of the public. In this environm ent an issue of Social Research on fraud seemed inevitable, and has been made more urgent by the current headlines about the gigantic fraud perpetrated by Bernard Madoff on his investors. My one regret is th at this issue is not more complete and that it fails to cover all the many arenas in which fraud is a quotid­ ian event. W hile the issue does contain pieces on insurance fraud, accounting fraud, tax fraud, election fraud, fraud in science, fraud­ ulent representations of the self, and on literary characters who were masters of fraud and the many cases of deception and fraud in the Bible, absent are pieces on fraud in medicine, identity theft, Editor's Introduction ix corporate fraud, fraud in art and photography, fraud in journalism, and fraud in universities, where plagiarism is on the rise, and on and on. My hope is that we will be able to turn our attention to these subjects in some future issue, since I strongly suspect that this social disease will not easily disappear and is likely to spread even more deeply and broadly through our society—which does not bode well for our democracy. x social research ...


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