Motivation problems in the next economy

The old economy has cultivated hordes who are motivated by money and material acquisitions. They are not motivated to open what is closed, share what has been privitized or collaborate with formal rivals. Within their value frameworks, it does not pay to be cooperative, collaborative or commons-based. Rather, compassion shows up as losses, defeats or concessions on their radar. They cannot do things for others unless it gets rewarded in a game like Farmville or World of Warcraft.

Being motivated by money is the same as lacking self motivation. Extrinsic motivation eliminates intrinsic motivation. Tangible rewards become addicting. The addict fixates on getting more payoffs at all cost. They cannot validate anyone who is intrinsically motivated to serve, mentor or care for others. Being generous with one's time, talents and energies appears foolhardy, unproductive and contrary to the rules for succeeding.

As the next economy replaces the excess of paying jobs with more cooperative endeavors, those addicted to extrinsic rewards will become chronically unmotivated. They identify with what they do, not with who they are. They need a fix to feel right about themselves. They feel extremely wronged when deprived of a paying job. They will be in no mood to volunteer for, contribute to or share with others' projects. Unfortunately, they will feel the urge to act disgracefully, anti-socially or even criminally.

A sustainable network economy needs to resolve these motivation problems or getting dismantled by their corrosive effects. It won't work to hope the addicts go away or their addictions fade away. Intrinsic motivation cannot compete with extrinsic rewards at a personal level, much less at scales of neighborhoods, communities and regions.

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