"I called off the experiment not because of the horror I saw out there in the prison yard," he explained in the technical write up of the experiment, "but because of the horror of realizing that I could have easily traded places with the most brutal guard or become the weakest prisoner full of hatred at being so powerless that I could not eat, sleep, or go to the toilet without permission of authorities."
"What happened at Abu Ghraib was inexcusable, but it was not inexplicable. I cannot repeat this caveat enough: to explain something is not to excuse it."
I've written about this sort of thing at length - limbic drives, the dehumanization process, why psychopaths get ahead (and shape work cultures), etc.
Fact is, our increasingly-competitive mainstream culture is in many ways exacerbating the wrong kinds of attitudes and behaviours. In competition, success is determined not by having the better product, but by beating (or beating down) the other guy. Doing that effectively, especially with short timelines at play, involves the dehumanization of that Other (unless they already aren't human in your eyes).
At the same time, mind you, the exact reverse is happening, at a smaller scale; a rise of altruism, an emphasis on supportive cultures, etc. No surprise this sort of trend is more prominent in social innovation, creative industry and other related spaces.
The two trends can and will exist in tandem, but there's a big shift coming, as big as the Industrial Revolution. Culture will change entirely as a result.
It's happening already. And the transition won't be entirely smooth.