enough of fear and greed

A few days ago, I saw this story about people being advised to return their library books on time in order to avoid their credit ratings being affected.


I think this is wrong. It’s like telling people not to do stupid things and stick them into Facebook in case their job prospects are affected. I understand that we all have to learn about the consequences of our actions, but I think we have to be careful here about the unintended consequences. If we carry on this way, all we are doing is enshrining the importance of the Eleventh Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Get Caught. It’s worse than that: we are making sure that Fear and Greed remain the only two motivators.

I want to live in a world where people return library books on time because it’s the right thing to do. I want to live in a world where people do things because they’re the right things to do, and don’t do things because they’re the wrong things to do. Right and Wrong are far better motivators than Fear and Greed. So let us concentrate on teaching our children how to figure out what’s right and what’s wrong, rather than learning to differentiate only between orange conical edible objects and wooden weapons.

And in any case I’m not sure that fining is the right thing to do. There must be a better way.

[My thanks to Feibao Production for the illustration].

3 thoughts on “enough of fear and greed”

  1. Very well said JP. At 8 my son still loves to have a story read to him at bedtime. He is currently reading Pullman’s Northern Lights, but when it comes to bed time I always read something with a moral or positive message. Tonight we just finished the final story in the Hungry Tigress http://tinyurl.com/ywrlrh and according to Amazon, his next treat should arrive by the weekend; What is God? http://tinyurl.com/ytegp8

    And he knows that his library books need to be back on time – as they may be needed by others.

  2. Surely there must be a service like that for films, whereby you can order books on loan, keep them for however long, and then send them back? If not, the libraries are doing a great job of creating a demand for such a rival service…

    And when will companies etc realise that prospective and current employees have always done foolish things – just because it’s on Facebook doesn’t mean they aren’t good employees. As long as it’s not illegal or damaging the company it just means their employees occasionally have fun – something that other prospective employees might look for…

Let me know what you think

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.