• Brock Briggs

Incentives

Incentives are a word you hear a lot when applying for a job. This is an incentive pay or a reason to do something. It's one way, usually. They're the reasons we do things, usually. Incentives drive action behavior and therefore dictate outcomes. If we know what determines outcomes, couldn't we focus our efforts on incentives to produce good results, and is that even possible?


For incentives to work, they need to be appropriate or fitting for the individual. When there's more than one person involved, there are two parties that have incentives, and those need to be aligned. Without aligned incentives, both parties are working towards different goals and thus will collide at some point. You'd think that the successful aversion to this is what got us to where we are today, but that couldn't be further from the truth.


When you think of science, do you think of facts and knowledge? I sure do. I think of unrefutable truth that has been around forever and will continue unending. Science however is actually a product of our discovery. We find out these things and I don't believe we find new things linearly. If Edison hadn't discovered the incandescent light bulb, would we still have found it later on? Or would we have discovered it at all. All it takes is the right person with the right incentive to take us, as Peter Thiel would say, from zero to one.


If that isn't scary enough of a thought, just wait. These discoverers and inventors have the drive to do so, but most often not the money. They need to get their discoveries financed - many of these groundbreaking truths and findings take lots of time and money. The financing of the findings comes from the wealthy and powerful, the people with pull. Naturally, those individuals are going to want to finance things that are in their best interest and will reflect positively on them. Their incentives drive their funding decisions. Probably not a big deal if the right people have the power, but as we know that's almost never the case.


The money/power and the discovery of our world are inextricably linked. This is why the selection of our leadership is paramount. The ideology of our leaders dictates the pace of truth discovery. We need to be selecting leaders that we have aligned incentives. Choosing anything less only leads to the stalling of our world.



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