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Let's reward long term thinking.

I'm tired of disasters occurring because of short term gains. Surely we ingest pollutants for short term gains, we lose jobs for quarterly gains and not decade gains and growth.

How can we increase the incentives associated with long term goals, planning, and larger rewards. Although I understand some long term goals don't reward as well or as quickly, but what can we change about our thinking to choose the long term goals, to choose to benefit ourselves and others.

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    • Jul 20 2012: Nice.
    • Jul 20 2012: You're right. I'm thinking in hindsight and reflecting back imposing "should've thinking." Feels like I'm wasting time instead of trying to push forward on something more forward thinking.

      Thanks for putting me in my place.
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        • Jul 20 2012: Myf. You're first response was just as revealing as your second.

          It's fine! Honestly, it made me realize a few things:
          1) In order to incentivize long term thinking, we have to teach it
          2) Reflective behavior can sometimes limit one's ability to look forward
          3) If we spent all the time planning, would we get anywhere?
          4) You're right, we tend to not think about long term consequence of our actions, but sometimes in doing so, we create something that changes everything in ways we never thought could.

          Your comments made me realize I have to stop popping people with hindsight and instead of saying I told you so, start asking, "Well. Now that this has happened, what can we do to prepare in the future? What should we look for next? How do we plan better?" etc.

          Both responses, edited and non were perfect for me and made me think more. ::laughs:: Admittedly, I felt like a twat at first, but chewing on both allowed me to think. So, props to you Myf! You're awesome and I genuinely mean that!
        • Jul 20 2012: Also take note, I thumbs upped your original comment.
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    Jul 19 2012: Actually, many people invested in companies like BP to do just that. It did not turn out the way that they expected.
  • Jul 18 2012: While I'm aware of some watch dog sites, most of these seem to be played off by one or both political parties as "biased" or "ignorant."

    Maybe as an economic model or whatever, we need to think about how to encourage honesty, transparency, and loyalty.

    Some might argue those might only be applicable to one side of the coin, but it should be multi-faceted. Given the rules, after following new ones, will probably be worked to be changed is probably a given. We can't have static laws as our society develops and changes. Unless we don't change our society that much.

    I may have to think about this some more before I pose another TED question. Thank you all.
  • Jul 18 2012: I agree with a good portion of the comments below.

    @Bob, I agree whole heartedly with your desire for increased accountability and taking responsibility. I too have seen how people in power have failed to take responsibility for their actions or more or less abuse their privileges. I also agree with loyalty, honesty, and doing your duty.

    @Gail I also agree, it seems, most of our economic model in the U.S is geared towards "next quarter thinking." This is disruptive to the social systems within our country and even countries.

    @Dale Tribunocracy seems interesting. I've read the website and unfortunately, won't be able to think about it too long before this conversation is ended.

    So, we have a political system that allows us to impeach people we don't like in office. We just need to get enough people together. That goes for any office. If people are so fed up with things, why haven't they tried this yet?

    When it comes to voter turn out, it's been low, predominantly due to the thinking of "we're voting for the lesser of two evils."

    So it seems what we need in place, at least until we develop a tribunocracy, is a system that mobilizes and increases the political awareness and power of the citizens. It needs to go public. It needs to go viral. It needs to be unbiased.

    That may change the political scheme and help focus politicians on anything other then the "next election."

    As for this group, we need more corporate watch dogs. Why? To increase their transparency. They need to go public. They need to go viral. They need to report the good and the bad and help influence consumer reports and Wall Street stocks.

    A company that's reported to be poisoning citizens? Break their stocks. A company reported to be hiring more and giving them above living wages? Boost their stocks a bit or endorse their products.

    We forget that under leadership we have a tendency to take things for granted feeling our own initiatives drowned in the sea of all the quiet voices around us.
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    Jul 17 2012: To move past wishful thinking, basic human nature has never changed. The good must continually fight against the bad. The only long lasting systemic changes have been achieved by technology (for example agriculture and medicine) or better social / political / economic systems (such as the rune of law or democracy). Technology is rapidly improving, but with better social practices it is already adequate to make the world a much better place. What the world need now is better social systems that provide a better method of democratic self government. Our present democratic process is inadequate to deal with our present problems. It is overly influenced by money, power and very shallow analysis by uninformed masses of people. It is more like a trial by mob than a public jury trial. Tribunocray is to present democracy what a jury trial is to trial by mob. Tribunocracy is what the world most needs now, see: www.tribunocracy.org
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    Gail .

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    Jul 17 2012: Our entire economic model is geared toward short-term thinking. It is a grotesque economic model, and contrary to what you have been told, it is not a good one and it has no redeemable qualities.

    Example: there are now more than 600 studies showing that group meditation has the power to reduce, if not eliminate war, crime & violence, poverty, illness - including psychiatric, accidents, house fires, and the like, while at the same time promoting social benefits such as social integration, trust, creativity, and economic improvement. There is more proof of this than there is proof that aspirin takes away headache pain.

    So why don't we do this? War = profits. Peace =NOT. Criminal justice SYSTEMS = profits. Justice = NOT. Illness = profits. Wellness = NOT. Diseducation (ignorance) = profits. Valid educations are a threat to the entire scheme.

    Our economic model is a proven Ponzi scheme. Nations no longer print or control their own money. Private bankers do this on whims, and banks profit the most from financing both sides of war.

    Our educational system was established by industrialists in the image of factories and for the $$$ benefit of industry. The US Dept of Education says that it exists to promote global competition. It doesn't exist to educate. It doesn't exist to help students live a better life. It doesn't even exist to help small American businesses. It exists as a subsidy of the military industrial complex. Consequently, MUCH that you learned in your compulsory educations is a LIE.

    Americans don't even know that you lost your government in a bloodless coup initiated by bankers and implemented by the Supreme court that ASSUMED powers not given it - the first time in history that a court assumed the power to overturn the law (Constitution) of a sovereign nation. Nothing was done about it because the poor (who fought in the revolution) couldn't vote. So government was sold to the highest bidders & politicians friends.

    Knowledge = power
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    Gail .

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    Jul 17 2012: Meditation has been proven to help this (2ce/day - and the kind of meditation where you put away thoughts).

    Meditation reduces activity in the amygdala part of the brain - that is responsible for fear/anxiety that produces short-term thinking. At the same time, it increases activity in the frontal cortex - that is responsible for rational, long-term thinking.

    Meditation has been shown to do much more than that. When practiced in gorups, it can decrease or end war, crime, violence, illness - including psychiatric, house fires, traffic accidents, emergency room visits for all reasons, and more, while at the same time increasing the quality of living in an area.

    It takes only the square root of 1% of an area's popuolation to meditate in a group to produce a 16-24% decrease in all social ills with an accompanying increase in social benefits. There are far more studies all showing the same thing than there are studies that evaluate the efficacy of an aspirin, but you aren't hearing about it. why?

    War = profitable. Peace =/= profitable. Illness = prifitable. wellness =/= profitable. Justice systems - including prisons and police = profitable. Peace =/= profitable. Inequaltiy = profitable. Equality =/= profitable. Compulsory diseducation =/= profitable. Open learning is not only unprofitable, but it is a very real threat to those who keep you enslaved without your conscious and informed consent.

    We can fix all, but first we have to learn about how things broke so we can restore sanity. Then we have to use the new science to lead us to a new kind of prosperity where we will not all be turned into disposable commodities. (No wonder why so many live in fear that meditation and rational thought would put away)
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    Jun 24 2012: Zac, I hit a small snag here. Long term thinking to a corporation is the next dividend check, to governments: Russia 5 year plans, Japan 100 year plans, China 1000 year startegys, to the US ... next election.

    My thoughts are that I hired you to do a job. You had the credentials, the equipment, support, and the opportunity to produce. If you do you were compensated. If you do not produce then I will rethink your position.

    I believe in loyality, honesty, and devotion to duty. Why is there such a great concern for "rewards". The problem is that we have rights without responsibilities. There should be consequences for failure. We give corporate execs a bonus as the company is going down the drain.

    We need to put corporate, political, and administrators on notice that there will be consequences for their eneptitude. There is no such thing as Executive Privledge. There are executive duties and failure to perform them should be punishable.

    All the best. Bob.
  • Jun 20 2012: Good point Barry.

    In terms of results good and bad, some might say that's subjective to the individual making the decisions. For example, someone might think it's a good idea to impart on themselves a bonus of $2 million at the cost of 4,000 jobs due to cut in productivity to save costs for the company as a whole. The structure of that makes one wonder where the short term and long term goals are in this equation and who exactly the beneficiaries are in the goals.

    I'd like to say, ideas that greatly improve world (environment and otherwise) health and sustainability, should be encouraged, no matter how long the fruition point and research on these ideas should be rewarded and huge incentives should be made.

    I'd like to say, ideas with minimal worldly health or where the beneficiary of an act at the greater expense of others or their resources, shouldn't be rewarded.

    However, I feel like I've fallen into a philosophical trap at this point. The rewards and gains feel subjective and I fear some would argue it forgets personal merit and effort. Yet similarly, I'm not one to dismiss personal merit and effort, but don't want to dismantle nor limit those who gain from others insights nor limit or inhibit access to these types of things.

    Actually, this question is making me want to ask another question where the answer is probably common: how can we minimize the desire to make huge investments in our personal gains for a short time to make a larger social impact and get a greater social capital but less monetary one?

    I think that might be a better rephrasing and/or part of my initial question. My inclination is to start with economic short and long term thinking due to the financial crises occurring, so maybe using my initial question and the new one we can work from there?

    I guess to specifically answer your questions in a succinct manner: Don't reward all long term thinking. I don't see why we wouldn't reward the grand children and the memory of their grandma.
  • Jun 20 2012: Hi Zac,

    I heartily agree with your goal, but I find it hard to imagine how to reward long term thinking. First, should we reward all long term thinking, regardless of whether the results are good or bad? If we ignore the issue of results, and just reward all long term thinking, we will surely have a plethora of long term projects, but we will be rewarding those that turn out disastrously. If we reward only ideas that have good long term results, the original proponent would likely be dead. Do we give the reward to her grandchildren?