Wednesday, September 25, 2013

beyond homo economicus

#whatif moving beyond homo economicus as a society was the next big shift in education?

via Nancy:
Yes, let's move beyond homo economicus (The belief that humans only act on their own narrow self interests). Like this article states, I also agree that, "Humans are capable of far more than selfishness and materialism. Indeed, we are capable of building sustainable, equitable, and caring political systems, economies and societies."

Many of our current systems today are built upon the belief that humans will make selfish decisions if given the choice, but #whatifwe built our society around the belief that human beings are motivated to be altruistic, compassionate, and cooperative? 

In schools students are rewarded and punished to learn skills and to treat others kindly. Students are placed in a competitive environment where they must outperform their peers through grades, sticker charts, praise, and attention. This competitive environment thus turns their friends and peers into people to compete against rather than cooperate with. Every person around them is someone who has a grade higher or lower than them (or more stickers, attention, detention, etc.).

The driving idea behind this system is that human beings wouldn't want to learn or cooperate with others if they had the choice. Could this be a self-fulfilling prophecy? This method of modifying children's behavior has been widely used throughout all of compulsory education and it has not yet produced a society of intrinsically motivated altruism.

This author writes, "institutional reform could be aimed at adapting social environments to foster cooperation instead of competition, and to activate our motivation to engage in caring behavior, rather than seeking achievement, power, and status only. In the long run, striving only for the latter leads to imbalance and resource depletion not only on the individual level, but also globally."

Could moving beyond homo economicus as a society be next big shift in education?

but this:
Given that brains are at their most malleable during childhood, beginning mental training in school would help to create a solid foundation for the kind of secular ethics that would contribute to the development of a more compassionate society.

But mental training also has benefits for adults, so businesses, political authorities, and research institutions should collaborate in establishing “mental gymnasiums.”
not sure we need mental training.. if we just create a more natural space.. space of permission... Peter Gray's -  free to learn - ness.
the thinking we have to manage/train people anything - is going to bite us in the long run...
spaces of permission with nothing to prove...
a people experiment..