Social benefits of integrity, the challenges of conflict and corruption
The rewards of acting with kindness and fairness—foundational Jewish values from the Prophet Micah—are most obvious when in a group where everyone has integrity, and is acting this way. This promotes strong and effective cooperation for the benefit of all in the group. In essence, the guidelines of the Sages are those which promote happy and productively cooperative groups.
Where life gets complicated is when there are some individuals who don't give priority to kindness and fairness, or worse, are actively corrupt and self-serving at the expense of others. Then the person acting ethically can be seen as an enemy, and attacked. At these times moral courage, and shred strategy is needed for the ethical to survive and thrive.
A great inspiration of the Sages is that by choosing good people, it is possible to build a beautify world to live in. In a highly flawed world, they inspire us to have the courage to push forward to create that better world for ourselves and others.