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07 August 2010


These RSA Animate videos are really making the rounds.  I've seen some good some not-so-good, but I really like this one that I pulled from Sociological Images (thanks to Megan for pointing it out to me) in which Dan Pink talks about what motivates us. 

So, to summarize, big rewards don't necessarily motivate us to perform better.  Instead we should be given autonomy and  room to pursue mastery while being paid just enough to make money a non-issue.  This all reminds me once again of the Gift Economics described in Red Mars.  I'll quote again, since it's short and a really nice part of the book:
One of the old women around him picked up the pot and poured John's cup full. SHe put down the pot, gestured: "Now you fill mine," John did so, unsteadily, and then the pot went around the room. Each pourer filled someone else's cup.
"We start every meal this way," the old woman said. "It is a little sign of how we are together. We have studied the old cultures, before your global market netted everything, and in those ages there existed many different forms of exchange. Some of them were based on the giving of gifts. Each of us has a gift, you see, given us freely by the universe. And each of us with every breath gives something back."
"Like the equation for ecological efficiency," John said.
"Maybe so. In any case, whole cultures were built around the idea of the gift, in Malaysia, in the American northwest, in many primitive cultures. In Arabia we gave water, or coffee. Food and shelter. And whatever you were given, you did not expect to keep, but gave it back again in your turn, hopefully with interest. You worked to be able to give more than you received. Now we thing that this can be the basis for a reverent economics."
"It's just what Vlad and Ursula said!"
"Maybe so."
From the video I draw the conclusion that money is a poor incentive in many cases.  The idea of paying just enough to take money out of the picture appeals to me.  Instead of the old paradigm of "working to earn a living" which was always suspect to me, we work to create the reality that we want to live in - to make life better in some little way for ourselves and those around us.  It's idealistic and Utopian, I know.  I told you I was prone to it!

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