October 23, 2010

Practical Wisdom OR Common Sense

This man talks some serious sense. In a stirring speech, Barry Schwartz argues that over regulating can strangle a system. He does not deny that regulations are necessary, but we must choose wisely what and how we regulate. He also makes the point that over use of incentives can backfire, turning what was a moral question (What is the right thing to do here) into a personal gain question (How does doing what I'm told to do benefit me?). Incentives and regulations are necessary. But we must trust the judgement of individuals by removing the twin specters of punishment and reward. We must accept the risk that comes without prepared scripts for a given situation, and we must allow an individual to learn from their mistakes.
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