Friday, February 27, 2009

Rules, Incentives, Virtue, and Janitors

Watched my first 2009 TED Talk yesterday.

Barry Schwartz.

Practical wisdom. Janitors. Virtue. Dignity. And rules and incentives and their limitations.

Barry says Ray Anderson...

Turned a part of the evil empire into a zero footprint or almost a zero footprint business. Why? Because it was the right thing to do. And a bonus he's discovering is that he's actually going to make even more money.

Really? A bonus? Not a driving force?

The thought that planted the seeds of The Carrot Project had to do with harnessing greed and steering it toward good: using consumer education and garden variety market demand to yank businesses out of the age old pattern of treating damage to natural and human capital like costs for others to bear.

The thought had very little to do with virtue. I wonder what Barry would think.

I also wonder what he'd think about the Willie the Janitor connection.

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