First off, thank you for sharing more of your thoughts.
Vasco Brazão

But I don’t see how not having to work for money would have negative consequences, given the statistic. Extrinsic motivation simply means that you perform an action in order to achieve an outcome that is separable from that action (even if the action gives you pleasure, it’s not the pleasure you’re seeking but the outcome).

I think our discussion breaks down on the practicality aspect and UBI.

IOW, there is a textbook definition of extrinsic motivation, of which we both agree. The larger question is this: given a UBI which allows one to live in comfort (something that is really not economically possible, btw — just meeting basic needs would be backbreakingly expensive in a high cost of living country like the US), would enough people choose to do something which is economically productive, or would they choose vodka, weed, and indolence?

The wild card in that question is the size of the UBI. There would be a rather substantial difference in behavioral outcomes, I would imagine, if the UBI provided a comfortable existence, and one that was subsistence-only (which still left the individual in need of a paycheck in order to gain that comfortable existence. )

They study because they want to become doctors (extrinsic) and eventually help cure cancer (extrinsic).

Hmmmmm. That’s an awful lot of work, to become an oncological researcher. I am not sure that anyone does all that work without a component of intrinsic motivation alongside the extrinsic.

So, there’s another problem — we risk setting up a false choice, where everyone’s motivation is either ONE or the OTHER. I suspect motivation is more complicated than that.

“”they become teachers because they want to help children develop into awesome adults (extrinsic) and they don’t have to worry if the pay is shit (because, UBI), instead of doing something they are not motivated for (and, hence, are unlikely to be so good at) simply because it pays more.

Well, having been a teacher for a time, I can tell you that for the most part, teachers don’t become teachers out of some altruistic motivation to “help children”. They tend not to think that long-term. They become teachers because the job can be a lot of fun (although government regulations are doing their best to take the fun out of it).

ME: EVEN IF each human finds that thing which motivates THEM……that doesn’t necessarily translate into a viable and productive society, nor one which is economically viable on into the future.
YOU: Here, I must agree. Where I disagree is that it’s not worth a try.

I have in other articles proposed another model known as the Guaranteed Job Benefit. A quick look around you shows that there are TONS of public-sector jobs that need doing that don’t get done because the taxes required to hire all the people you need would be prohibitive for the local jurisdiction.

A GBI would provide a federal pool of funds by which local jurisdictions and school districts (what school couldn’t use a few more teachers and a ton of teachers’s aides, after all?) could hire additional road workers, park workers, teachers, nurses, aids of all types (etc, etc, etc) at cheaper rate than normal scale. Then, when the actual workers in those jobs retire, the jurisdiction has a ready-made pool of trained workers to choose from, who want those jobs because they immediately provide……let’s say a 20% raise, depending on how much “cheaper” that “cheaper rate” alluded to above actually was.

Risk of indolence solved.

The societies we live in right now all work under the premise that motivating people with money is optimal, and yet we still have embarrassing rates of physical and mental ill-health, amotivation, recessions, yada yada. So something could definitely be improved.

Hmmmmm. I can’t agree with your assumption that it’s the need for a paycheck which causes all those problems. Recessions certainly are not. And although I quite agree that certain people simply can’t handle the stressors in life that other people handle normally……..I think those sorts of “fragile people” tend to fall apart when faced with ANY sort of stressor, not just economic.

At any rate, the only kind of economic model that has any record of relative success is a capitalistic one. Models where the government pools up the resources and spins them back out don’t have good track record. That’s the major concern in my Guaranteed Jobs Benefit model as well, although the reality that the money goes to productive work rather than a welfare check is a substantial difference.

On another note, could you link me to that work of yours you mentioned? I’d love to check it out!

Smiles. Back in the early 90’s, there was no internet. :-). We did have a thing called ARPAnet and USENET, but they weren’t commonly used by academics outside of the national labs.

Hence, I’ve never posted any of my work, those textbooks have long since been sent to Half-Price Books, and my papers to the garbage heap when I decided to not pursue an educational masters and return to software consulting.

But, thanks for asking. :-)

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