And, a counterartument

So, since sometimes I like to debate myself, I thought I’d post a counterargument to This is something that literally just happened. I’ve been trying to teach Remus to not bark like crazy, and so I have a bag of treats open and I’m praising him and giving him a treat every time he manages to look out the window quietly or otherwise do some behavior I’d like to positively reinforce.

While I was busy doing some paying work, he just stuck his nose in the bag of treats in order to try and steal some. I of course pulled him away and explained that he shouldn’t do that, but then I got to thinking about our little discussion here. To a certain extent, money paid out by the group is the ‘treat’ to encourage certain behaviors that the group considers to be pro-survival. Giving money for not displaying those behaviors reduces the group’s ability to influence individual members in directions that are presumed to be beneficial as far as the group can tell.

My response to this argument is that we should probably do this – for luxury items. It’s almost certainly desirable to have carrots to help encourage people to grow, especially since their growth may enable us all to be wealthier through creating more carrots for all. However, because of the reasons I discussed in my previous post, I do not think it is a good idea to do this for basic necessities like food and shelter. I also do not think it is a good idea to do this for things that benefit all of us, like education and access to communication networks. (More on that later, I expect).

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