Motivation: manipulating it for good

Companies are motivated to make profit.  I don’t believe, in and of itself, that this is bad.  We just have to find ways to make this motivation work for good means and ends.  Regulation is one such way.

As David Mitchell said in his Observer column (1st August 2010):

“we can only properly harness the power and wealth of oil companies for developing sustainable energy sources by creating a business environment in which that activity is as profitable, or looks like it will become as profitable, as drilling for oil.”

David Mitchell | Give me Ryanair’s brazen villainy over the bogus compassion of BP | Comment is free | The Observer.

I think the same principle can be applied to other agents – other organisations, groups, and individuals.  And when working with people, this can be empowering: finding what someone is motivated by, then creating the environment in which their motivation will lead to good things.  It’s manipulative but without the negative connotation IF they know about and agree to it, and if it leads to good things for themselves (and doesn’t benefit the manipulator).


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