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Machiavellianism refers in common parlance to the ready and systematic seizing of every advantage for oneself without regard to the rights or claims of other individuals or of the larger society. The Machiavellian is scornful of claims of conscience or morality and is restrained only by the need to be careful about breaking laws and violating mores, lest one get caught, not by any belief that a profitable action can be wrong. In the business world, the Machiavellian is prepared, as needed, to cook the books, advertise falsely, cut corners on product quality, sell pirated goods, and—where possible—cheat employees or damage the environment. In politics, the Machiavellian will add military force to weapons used in the quest for every advantage, fair or unfair.

Machiavellianism gets its ...

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