Thursday, November 01, 2007


At work we've been talking a lot about motivation. Why do people do things that seem counter to their own best interests or do things that may not make much of a visible difference? So much of society and our government policy is motivated towards being wasteful. We don't make mass transit easy, and recycling can be so much of a pain in the ass. Yet why do I and others do it.

Here are some possibiltities...

1) Pure Aesthetics. Much of our garbage and packaging is just plain distasteful. You look at how much over-packaging and it's like seeing too much ketchup on your fries. Too much of a good thing. I dislike SUVs because it seems so gluttinous.

2) Delayed englightened self-interest: All this talk about saving the planet is a crock, it really is about saving what we have. Much of my motivation concerns that I like trees, I like the outdoors, I have scorching heat. There are lots of things we are on the path too, and I want to do what I can to mitigate it. Roubini, the NYU economist has a rule that he does not predict events and their timing. So much is clear what is going to happen.

3) Societal Norms. Here is a story about one woman's challenges with bringing her own bag to the store. In Europe you pay for your bags each time, here you save money for bringing your own. What's normal anyway.

These are obviously a few motivations, not all mine or what drive me, though there are elements that apply to me. So let me close with this, if you are going to race you have to train, it doesn't happen instantly. But once you start it gets easier and easier. Oil is at $94 a barrel, you might as well start figuing out how to live with less now, since race day is coming real soon.


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