[From Bruce Abbott (2010.11.23.1715 EST)]
Rick Marken (2010.11.23.1145) --
Fred Nickols (2010.11.23.1118 MST)
Rick Marken (2010.11.23.0910)
Fred Nickols (2010.11.23.0853 MST)
FN: Moreover, I find nothing in PCT to negate or void those concepts.
RM: But you negate it yourself in your next paragraph:
FN: So you say, Rick, but I don't agree that I negate it myself. That an
incentive (or disincentive) hinges on whether or not the prospective
recipient wants it (or is controlling for it) doesn't wipe out the concept
of incentive; all it does is point out that incentives have no operational
existence apart from someone wanting them. ï¿½I can offer Joe a $500 bonus
do X and if Joe has no interest in the $500 then that $500 is not
functioning as an incentive. ï¿½But if Joe does want that $500 then it does
act as an incentive.
RM: It acts as an incentive only if you use it as an incentive -- as a
means of controlling Joe's behavior. It may be that your friends know
that $500 can't incent (cause) behavior if people don't want it. But
if they find that $500 will incent behavior (because Joe wants it)
they are happy to use it as a behavior control method instead of just
giving it to Joe (since they know he wants it and they apparently have
it to give) or cooperating with him (asking if Joe how much X he would
be willing to do for $500, for example). Calling something an
"incentive" betrays an interest in control of behavior rather than in
how behavior controls.
Joe knows that I need to have the plumbing fixed, and since he's a plumber,
he knows how to do it, so why won't he do the job for free? Apparently he's
more interested in controlling my behavior than in helping me to control the
functioning of my plumbing. In fact, he won't do the job for me unless I pay
him the $500. In other words, he's incentivizing my behavior of paying him
$500 by offering to fix the plumbing for me ONLY if I agree to pay him for
it, the #@!% control freak.