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To build a cooperative society, is it better to punish or reward?

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posted on Apr, 19 2010 @ 10:39 PM
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www.physorg.com...


Quote from source:
One of the basic components of a functional, cooperative society is a code of law, where the laws are usually enforced by some kind of incentive. Social incentives can either be positive (rewards) or negative (punishments), and a society must decide which combination to use to achieve the greatest efficiency, or the highest level of cooperation at the lowest cost. Using a game theoretic model, a new study has analyzed this social dilemma in order to investigate how individuals are swayed by incentives, and how cooperation can emerge due to various incentive strategies.

Christian Hilbe and Karl Sigmund, mathematicians from the University of Vienna, have published the study, called “Incentives and opportunism: from the carrot to the stick,” in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Overall, their results show how a population can evolve to become dominated by individuals who cooperate by default (that is, they cooperate unless they know they can get away with uncooperative behavior) when faced with negative incentives.
As the researchers explain in their study, the efficiency in terms of a benefit-to-cost ratio of the two types of incentives depends on the circumstances. In a society where most people cooperate, then it will be costly to reward them all, while a society in which most people defect would pay a high price for trying to punish them all. So the obvious way to transform an uncooperative population into a cooperative one would be to first provide positive incentives, and later punish the few remaining individuals who refuse to be swayed.


Very interesting article and a lot of thought put into it. I wanted to share it and get a few opinions on the subject that the title asks.

What does everyone else think would make a cooperative society?

I personally think reward or punishment leads to an unbalanced society. While I do agree that people should not get away with selfish actions, I do not think a punishment is the right way to go about that. People should also be satisfied with the empowerment of doing something good, and that should be the reward. Interesting questions that's why I thought I would ask.


Any thoughts?

Pred...

[edit on 19-4-2010 by predator0187]




posted on Apr, 19 2010 @ 10:44 PM
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Reward is a far greater motivator. People will produce, invent, work 10 times harder for personal gain while "punishment" is a deterrent and causes all to stay "above" the "punishment line". You will get minimum production for deterrents.



posted on Apr, 19 2010 @ 11:15 PM
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I would think the most effective way to achieve a cooperative society would not be any kind of positive or negative incentive - cooperation might be the better idea than direction.


So the obvious way to transform an uncooperative population into a cooperative one would be to first provide positive incentives, and later punish the few remaining individuals who refuse to be swayed.


I'm not to keen to the social dominance implications of this perspective.

gj



posted on Apr, 19 2010 @ 11:19 PM
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Society already has rewards for positve behavior..eg. money etc..

There will always be that small percentage that cannot "play the game"..

so there has to be punishments.



posted on Apr, 19 2010 @ 11:22 PM
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reply to post by predator0187
 


Educate all as to policies procedures and benefits of a cooperative state. Do not remove punishment as there will always be sociopaths and the corrupt.



posted on Apr, 19 2010 @ 11:25 PM
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reply to post by ganjoa
 


I agree. True cooperation should not need any rewards/punishments.

Although every time I talk about this to someone they always tell me there are such bad people out there, and every time I always say we are a product of our society.

I do not think there are actually, truly bad people out there. I think people can perform bad actions and rather than figuring out what is wrong with them, we invent this thing that treats the symptoms of the problem called 'laws.' That's all it really is to me is something that deals with the symptom. We need to figure out why people think it is okay to do what they do.

And really prison is the worst place to put anyone. Let's put them in a place with other mad people and see if they come out in better shape. A good idea to me would be to put them in somewhere where problems can be figured out. People do bad things for a reason, not because they are just bad.

A lot of power has been taken away from the people over the years making us feel powerless. And most of the hate crimes involve people having power over somewhere else.

I could talk about this for a long time.


Waiting to hear more opinions.


Pred...



posted on Apr, 19 2010 @ 11:27 PM
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reply to post by wrathchild
 


But, a punishment is a negative behavior, and when something is negative all it does is turn everything around it negative as well. Useless to fight like that as we will never get anywhere.

If it was an eye for an eye and everyone lived like that, then everyone would be blind.


Pred...



posted on Apr, 19 2010 @ 11:44 PM
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A democratic society based on merit or a society based on punishments?

Merit will see an increase in productivity and performance, but it will also mean it may lead to others being pushed down so that one may rise, for the top is limited, and eventually such societies will destroy itself within.

Education is a good way to help guide, but one basic principle of humanity is that we are prone to errors, no matter how well taught we are. Everyone, from the CEO to the dishwasher, makes mistakes, sometimes minor, at times may doom civilisation.

Punishments are rule of fear, and no one enjoys being bullied, and will only seek for one chance to rise to overcome presumed bullies.

Is mankind thus a lost cause?

No, The solution is the wise mix of merit and merciful administration of punishment through better education of our young. We have seen and experienced the mistakes this generation made, and it must never be allowed to be repeated upon our next generations.

Greed is good, but the all out pursuit of it at the expense of others is morally wrong and will only condemn us all.

Authoritarianism is a revocation of freedoms and only prove humanity's inadequacies in social and neuroscience to convince and lead others to a better path in life.



posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 12:11 AM
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reply to post by predator0187
 


Positive reinforcement is the only way to learn or to teach.

Any other way and learning takes place at a cost that is not worth the price.
Unless you are trying to break or deform your student.

You can never be sure your pupil will not turn on you if you teach them "turning on someone" (using punishment) is a permissible acceptable behavior, tactic or strategy.
Using punishment you can always be certain they will want to turn on you whether or not they actually carry it out.

Read any book on how to train your dog. You are never supposed to hit or humiliate a dog according to any training manual. Repetition and positive reinforcement are better and more effective training method than punishment. Negative training and punishment leaves a dog with a damaged psyche.

Certainly we should be treated at least as well as it is recommended we treat and teach dogs.



posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 12:50 AM
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reply to post by predator0187
 

You ask an important question. And the situation goes deeper than the most obvious rewards and punishments provided by, say, a legal system.

If you just stand back and take a look at the punishment side of the situation, you can make some simple observations: Imprisoning a person is a form of punishment (isn't it?). So, has this practice resulted in more people becoming honest citizens in order to avoid going to prison? That does not seem to be happening.

Punishment has always been just a PR action undertaken by governments to convince those concerned that "something is being done about it." There is no way that punishment alone could solve the problem of crime.

How about another form of "punishment": taxes. We currently have a system that taxes personal income. But, to the extent that personal income measures one's level of honest production, that system also punishes honest production. Who came up with that idea?

Reasonably sane people (which is still most of us, thank goodness) stay honest, work hard, and work together because of the rewards one gets from doing so. Those rewards include money, friendship, status and respect. They could even include the self-respect that comes from making an honest living and really helping other people.

In a sane society, people cooperate because it is rewarding to do so. But how sane is our current society? Read the posts on this website.

And what can one do about the criminal activities being reported in these posts? Punishment won't work, and to the degree that the legal system falls into the hands of the bad guys, as it has many times in many different places, it can become totally useless. But there is always something that bad behavior does not stand up to well, and that is the light of day. If every honest person who ever got offered a bribe to bend the rules or was ordered or coerced to do something illegal or unethical were to step forward and tell their honest stories, this society might start to turn around.



posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 01:13 AM
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reply to post by rusethorcain
 


I agree with your statement. I have been studying Dogs for a while now, and even watching the dog whisperer punishment is the wrong way. They way to get a. is positivity.

To have a good society happiness is the way to go, who is happy when they are being punished? The minute someone is punished they learn that that is a way that is allowable. Once they learn negativity that almost becomes them. I choose to never hit or punish my animals and yet they listen to me perfectly.

They do not need a reward even though I sometimes give them a treat.
But they choose to follow and behave because they have learned respect which I try to show by how I treat them.

I sometimes correct the animal, not with pain but with teaching them. That is the way I would want to be treated so why would I not treat someone I love the same. Education is much more important than any sort of punishment.

Pred...



posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 01:29 AM
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Originally posted by l_e_cox
If you just stand back and take a look at the punishment side of the situation, you can make some simple observations: Imprisoning a person is a form of punishment (isn't it?). So, has this practice resulted in more people becoming honest citizens in order to avoid going to prison? That does not seem to be happening.


Well what gets me about the legal system is that they rely on fear more than correction. When you live in fear, nothing good comes out of it other than a negative state. I would rather have people not commit crimes because they have empathy and honestly feel bad instead of being in fear of being punished.

Seriously, if we talked and understood the way these people think maybe we could get a clue, but we instill fear in them and make them shut down. There is no learning in fear. If you ask any criminal if they would like the action performed to them or a family member most would say no. So if these people know it is bad what is making them not think of these things as they are committing the crime.

When you send people to jail, which is the most scary thing (to me anyway), you enter them into a building that thrives on fear. That is how gangs run in jails and that is how things move. There are tiers in the prison system, and when you first come in you are at the bottom. How is anything possibly solved by fear?


Punishment has always been just a PR action undertaken by governments to convince those concerned that "something is being done about it." There is no way that punishment alone could solve the problem of crime.


Absolutely. It is just the governments way of satisfying the people. They solve nothing, nor do they even try. They in turn make things much, much worse. But most people do not take enough time to learn anything let alone how productive their legal systems are. I mean look at the war on drugs, if there is anything that proves that the government does nothing, that one is it.


In a sane society, people cooperate because it is rewarding to do so. But how sane is our current society? Read the posts on this website.


I wouldn't necessarily use the word rewarding, but I think satisfying would be better. Satisfaction is something that we should strive for, to do something positive is satisfying and that could be construed as rewarding, but the only reward is satisfaction.



And what can one do about the criminal activities being reported in these posts? Punishment won't work, and to the degree that the legal system falls into the hands of the bad guys, as it has many times in many different places, it can become totally useless. But there is always something that bad behavior does not stand up to well, and that is the light of day. If every honest person who ever got offered a bribe to bend the rules or was ordered or coerced to do something illegal or unethical were to step forward and tell their honest stories, this society might start to turn around.


Agreed, the only problem is that there are a ton of people out there that idolize money or financial gain over the welfare of even their families. Why else would we be poisoning our world, as their kids will have to live in it.

Greed is our problem and it is based on lies in and of itself. Money is but a illusion that we have been led to believe runs the show. People have a hard time thinking about this because money is everything. There is no possible way to have money and not have greed, they go hand in hand, scary as that is.

That is what we need to be brainwashed out of is the fact that money is not number 1. Money is responsible for like 90% of crimes in the world and has done less for us than organized religion.

See, I said I could talk about this for hours.


Great discussion everyone.


Pred...



posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 01:40 AM
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There will always a reward for negative behavior, eg. theft etc.

It's human nature to take the easiest path. therefore punishment always has to be a factor.

I could make a hellava more money dealing drugs or stealing..but I choose not to because I fear the punishment.



posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 03:05 AM
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I apologize, but as a Confucius scholar I do not agree with punishment or laws. Society ruled by punishment is seen as barbaric to one such as myself, and the land in which I live has no laws of any kind. Ritual is used here, and to restrain by punishment is seen as a failure in government.
It always amazes me how Americans, and by this I mean no offence of any kind, can argue about the drawbacks of government systems such as democracy versus communism, or business systems such as capitalism or socialism, but never once wonder “By which do we compare legalism to?”

To say that laws are the only way to govern justice is to say that capitalism is the only way to govern business. There are other systems, many in fact, one of which is used where I reside and that is Confucianism. Our society is stable without laws, so it is by no means a requirement of a “Functional, cooperative society” as the original source material claims.

With my deep respect,
~ Darcia

[edit on 20-4-2010 by Darcia]



posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 03:12 AM
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Originally posted by wrathchild
There will always a reward for negative behavior, eg. theft etc.

It's human nature to take the easiest path. therefore punishment always has to be a factor.

I could make a hellava more money dealing drugs or stealing..but I choose not to because I fear the punishment.


My point exactly, rule by fear. Would it not be far superior for you to simply do good out of a want to do good, rather than because you fear the punishment for doing wrong?

"Public order could be maintained either by punishment or by example. 'Lead the people by edicts, restrain them by punishment—and they will keep out of trouble but develop no sense of shame. Lead them by virtue, restrain them with ritual—and they will develop a sense of shame and reform themselves by joining together.'" - The base level of Confucius ideals

"The Confucian Code of Rites (Liji), not law, is expected to be the controlling document on civilised behaviour. In the Confucian world view, rule of law is applied only to those who have fallen beyond the bounds of civilised behaviour. Civilised people are expected to observe proper rites. Only social outcasts are expected to have their actions controlled by law. Thus the rule of law is considered a state of barbaric primitiveness, prior to achieving the civilised state of voluntary observation of proper rites. What is legal is not necessarily moral or just." - From Wikipedia on Confucianism

Thus, to one such as myself, it is not punishment or merit, but ritual that aids us.



posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 03:13 AM
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I'm a father of 3, and i firmly believe you need both the carrot and the stick.

Both desirable and undesirable behaviour will occur. Your reactions will re-inforce the behaviour, either for better or worse.



posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 03:38 AM
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Originally posted by wrathchild
There will always a reward for negative behavior, eg. theft etc.

It's human nature to take the easiest path. therefore punishment always has to be a factor.

I could make a hellava more money dealing drugs or stealing..but I choose not to because I fear the punishment.


You could make a lot of money dealing in drugs, but you chosed not to, not because of secular punishment, but the punishment from your own mind.

With a couple of deals, you would be set for life. You wallow in luxury, but you will have no peace, for there is no escape from the knowledge of what your drugs had done to people.

You will attempt to use every justification you can borrow or muster up to justify, but the images of those tortured souls will torture you, even if you are not the religious kind.

You will find no peace as time grows. And in time, you will only have lived a life of regret and face a future of personal madness. It's only human. We had been wired that way. No one escapes. Stalin, Hitler, Mao never did die a happy death that common honest men could.

Wrong doings are listed as crimes by secular authorities for a purpose, and many presumed it is punishment and the institution of fear to prevent crimes, and sadly, both the people and the authorities failed in its endeavours to prevent crime.

Prison time is meant for rehabilitation, but majority of authorities either ignores it or lack of funds to do so, resulting in the criminal not knowing his wrong, only bitterness that he had been caught and will not hesitate to do so again, till one day, as all humans do, the realisation of wrong they had done to another human being but it will be too late...tortured nights and madness awaits.



posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 04:15 AM
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In a free society co-operation is neither legislated nor engineered, and government exists not to engage in social engineering but to protect the freedoms of individuals. Indeed, in a free society, the establishment of government is the first sign of co-operative effort, and a significant sign at that. People do not co-operate because there is a government, people create government to better facilitate co-operation. We know of no existing government during paleolithic ages, but there is evidence to suggest that co-operation did indeed exist. Co-operation, like freedom, pre-exist government institutions.




In a society where most people cooperate, then it will be costly to reward them all, while a society in which most people defect would pay a high price for trying to punish them all.


Consider what this study is saying here and the clear bias the researchers have in drawing their conclusions. Ironically, its as if these researchers either never heard of capitalism and free market principle or just reject such an economic theory out of hand, and the irony is in their model of game theory. In a free market system there is no "social" cost to reward, it is inherent in the system, and any punishment is derived through failure to succeed. There is no need to create a government and dole out rewards of value and arguably no need to spend exorbitant amounts of money on punishment. When the law is predicated on Caveat Emptor, then a prudent and co-operative society emerges, where it is imprudent to produce bad or faulty goods, because a leery customer base will punish that business all on their own without any need for government regulation, as opposed to the increasing naivete of a population of buyers who think that regulation has protected them from bad or faulty product.




So the obvious way to transform an uncooperative population into a cooperative one would be to first provide positive incentives, and later punish the few remaining individuals who refuse to be swayed.


The unbridled arrogance and bias of the researchers is wholly on display with this last statement, as an uncooperative population is antithetical to society itself. Civilization is marked by the cooperative efforts of its population and any areas where the population remains uncooperative are usually remote and tribal or primitive by nature. The only government that could possibly find this research useful would be those governments that have used legislation to prohibit a reward based system of economics, and those type of governments are unlikely to even read such a study, let alone take its advise.

If a government created by the people, of the people and for the people, (take note of the incredible cooperation such a government would require), simply stays the hell out of peoples lives until there is a clear and identifiable absence of justice, or civil unrest, or need for a common defense, then people will co-operate without any government incentives, and a government that leaves people alone to govern themselves need not offer any "tax incentives" to co-operate since taxation itself would be less necessary. When taxes are low, there are no need for "tax incentives", and such a term is only an oxymoron of typical double speak, where government pretends its taxation is useful beyond keeping a government functional.

A government reliant upon income taxation is a government that has created tax cheats and liars, as without this odious form of taxation, taxes remain defeatable and serve as a common good because they keep both government and population in check. In a society where defeatable taxes are the norm, one can avoid purchasing any good taxed, or any activity taxed, or choose to pay the tax and enjoy the good or activity. If enough people avoid the tax, this becomes a useful gauge to the government, who realizing that the power to tax is the power to destroy and if the tax being avoided is only accomplishing the death of a particular industry, assuming destruction of that industry was not the primary goal, the government will be forced to find another good or activity that can be taxed without destroying that which is being taxed. That, in my humble opinion, is the pinnacle of cooperation.



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