Something to watch for tonight (Tuesday night):
Responding to a blog entry from yesterday (“Can Mormon transhumanists revitalize the Latter-day Saints?”), Lincoln Cannon has sent me a link to his article, which was critiqued in Interpreter by Gregory Smith. I’m happy to share it:
“Surprising” and “shocking” are two of the adjectives used in connection with this discovery:
I think that I’ll do another little bit drawn from Rolf Dobelli’s Die Kunst des klugen Handelns: 52 Irrwege, die Sie besser anderen überlassen (Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 2014) — “The Art of Smart Action: 52 Wrong Paths that Would Be Better Left to Others.”
In a chapter entitled “Wie Sie mit Boni Motivation zerstören” (“How you destroy motivation with bonuses”), Dobelli gives a couple of examples:
In the first, he tells about an attempt by the federal government of Switzerland to find a place in which to dispose of radioactive waste. Eventually, they began to focus on an area called Wolfenschiessen, in the central portion of the country. The University of Zürich economist Bruno Frey and his associates asked residents of Wolfenschiessen whether they would vote for the construction of a deep repository for such waste, and 50.8% of them said Yes. Reasons cited included patriotism, a sense of fairness and social responsibility, and the prospect of increased local jobs. However, when Frey and his team asked the question a second time, but this time including a compensation of 5,000 Swiss francs for every citizen, the percentage of those responding positively . . . dropped to just 24.6%
In the second example, child care centers have a problem with parents coming to pick their children up after closing time. The centers’ directors have no choice but to stick around until the parents show up; responsible adults can hardly just put the toddlers in a taxi and send them home. So a number of centers began to charge fees for keeping the children beyond closing time . . . but, when the fees went into effect, the number of late-arriving parents didn’t drop. It rose.
Dobelli’s conclusion? Money doesn’t work in such cases because it sometimes actually devalues the efforts of decent people to do the right thing. (He had previously mentioned a case in which he helped a friend to move from Frankfurt to Zürich and how offended he was when, later, the friend sent him money for his efforts.)
“Monetary motivations,” he says, “can sometimes crowd out non-monetary motivations.”
I think I’ll save his two concluding paragraphs for a subsequent blog entry, because they’re well worth thinking about — particularly for somebody who heads up a non-profit.
Posted from Richmond, Virginia