Rewarding Behaviour

      Alex Burrett
Rewarding Behaviour

This manifesto proposes a universal way to encourage socially beneficial behaviour. There are more things wrong with our world than institutional indifference to social good. However, solving this issue could have a positive impact on other problems.In developed countries, social cohesion has been sacrificed on the altar of individual gratification. Individuals wanted more and better. Inventors and entrepreneurs rallied to serve our desires. We progressed – pulled along by our hunger for improvement. This strategy worked well for centuries. Survival rates benefitted more from technological advances than from recognising individual social contributions. But the paths of ‘what we want in the short term’ and ‘what is good for us in the long term’ diverged. As we moved forwards, we increasingly abandoned non-commercial activities – regardless of their contribution to social wellbeing.We’ve now reached point where the benefits of technological advances are becoming outweighed by the disadvantages. New consumer inventions make us less active. Improved food production is turning us fat. Social media is stopping us socialising. Even medical advances will become less important to the majority – focusing, quite rightly, on a shrinking minority of ill people or providing more years of relative infirmity for the very old.The wellbeing of the majority during the majority of their lives can now be improved more by positive social interaction than by technological advances. To do this, we need to amend our reward system. We need to provide additional motivation for carrying out beneficial social activity. Although many already help others altruistically, there’s no moral reason why they shouldn’t receive further tangible rewards. And tangible rewards might encourage even more people to help one another. This would deliver additional social benefits – thereby improving general wellbeing.
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