Yes, ethics and all that long interpretative jazz. Give the author credit for taking one step forward, but the money was the motivator. It is the motivator for these kids and their folks to go to the author, for the author to do something unethical, and for the admissions committees to turn a blind eye. The incentives are just too strong here. Follow the money.
But why? Why are people spending perfectly good coins on this system? Why are they working long days and weekends to make their kids work long days and weekends at 16 years of age? Why did the author work for them? Why do the admissions do this work, make these easily faked essay requirements that they have to then read? Why? Where is the money going?
I don't have a prefect answer, but I do know that Hope and dreams, and all that gummy stuff is the reason. It's a 'get your's' mentality that extends to the family and the children. 'I don't care if my kid cheats, because it's my kid, not your's' Anyone with a semblance of brain will put 2 and 2 together and realize this cannot last. If everyone cheats, then you ruined the world you were trying to get you child into. You are your own worst enemy in this regard. You have no money to follow.
And, from reading a lot of the comments here, it seems we are about 30-50% of the way there. We can do the stats there on this tragedy of the commons, but a tipping point has been reached: You'd be a fool to be honest, and now even the biggest dupes know it. Follow the money.
So what then? The admissions departments know it, or will have to formally recognize it in about 5-7 years. Then the cat really is out of the bag. And what happens then? It's an arms race like any other. Those with the pockets that reach past the shoes are the only winners. We have see this before may times in history (the exam system of China is most instructive, whole villages had to produce the funds to take the tests, Villages!). And, bob's you uncle, we end up back where we were 200 years ago. Follow the money.
Ahh, but no. HNers know better. The internet disrupts everything. It not only levels the field, it makes it inverted. The recent hack of phones, systems and anyone's computer make that world of coin and cash impossible. Admissions committees, even 20 years ago, were saying that it was effectively chance at getting into Stanford. The next 30 sets of classes were just as good as the one they accepted, it was luck. There is no money to follow with luck.
So, again, the internet comes into play. We have 30 sets of Stanford students, young people with brains, smarts and access to at least enough capital to get through the tests. Yes, do your stats, but you still get more real smart kids than there are elite colleges to get into, thanks to the internet. Pretty soon, and we're talking under a century, these places get a bad rap, as the admissions just can't keep up and never will. The lesser, the newer, the smaller schools, hell even places that aren't real schools, they get going. The entire idea of an elite school gets to be passe. Why, because the selectivity and the cash just don't make sense to go there. Follow the money.
So, we get something that is very different than what we had before. The cash, the aristocracy, it means less. Because money means less. Because status means less, because who the hell cares you went to Harvard or Cal. It's chance getting there anyways. Why waste all the coin and those August Saturday nights of your youth? The money won't make sense there, because the status is eroded, because the internet tells us it's all a lotto anyways, because the admissions departments can't pretend anymore that it's not aristocracy, because the internet tells us, because the coin did make sense before we all knew better. Follow the money.