# Prove that a ring is commutative if $(ab)^2=(ba)^2$

Let $R$ be a ring with unit element $1$ such that $(ab)^2=(ba)^2$ for all $a,b$ in $R$. If in $R$, $2x=0$ implies $x=0$, how do I show that R is commutative?

Is there any general approach to attack this kind of problem?

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Some solution is given as Theorem 4 here. It was among the first google hits for "ab^2=ba^2" commutative. [By this I do not suggest that googling should be considered the general approach for such problems ;-)] –  Martin Sleziak Nov 18 '11 at 11:44

Let $F(a,b) = (ab)^2 - (ba)^2 = abab - baba = 0$. Then routine verification shows $F(1+x, 1+y) - F(1+x,y) - F(x,1+y) + F(x,y) = -2yx+ 2xy$ so $2(xy-yx) = 0$, which implies $xy=yx.$