As part of an ongoing effort to battle a culture of corruption, the Indonesian government is opening Honesty Cafes, designed to teach people the value of honesty. Snacks and drinks are available, and you pay on the honor system, putting your money into a clear plastic box. From the NY Times
The attorney general’s office says the honesty cafes will nip in the bud corrupt tendencies among the young and straighten out those known for indulging in corrupt practices, starting with civil servants. By shifting the responsibility of paying correctly to the patrons themselves, the cafes are meant to force people to think constantly about whether they are being honest and, presumably, make them feel guilty if they are not.
It's a cute idea, but I think the reasoning behind it is flawed, because even if people behave honestly in the cafes, that doesn't mean the behavior is going to transfer to other contexts.
Of course you realize all Communist regimes incidentally also suffered from endemic corruption on all levels, which closes the circle with the Indonesian parallel.
I think it's a good idea. I think we should teach people virtues, even if not everyone learns. I know of a school in an east Asian country where they start tests with questions like "Would your grandparents want you to cheat on this test?" and it seems to have eliminated a lot of (but not all) cheating. If we accept the idea that social responsibility is only needed when convenient and that we should live down to the standards the worst members of society, than I think we can honestly say we live in a failed and inferior culture.