carrot sticks

Spending an hour on patrol with a parking inspector is probably not everyone’s idea of a good time, but sometimes walking a mile in someone’s shoes helps provide perspective.

“It’s about sharing a finite resource,” my companion explained. “In attempting to change behaviour you can use the carrot or the stick. If I have a chance I will use the carrot. That’s why I make all my notes and take my photos before I hit print – to give people that few extra minutes to get back to the vehicle. There’s no point in being a total prick about it.”

Exactly! Just why are we are so hellbent on trying to achieve compliance through punishment?

Like when was the last time someone was actually fined for allowing their dog to poo on the pavement? It’s ridiculous. You virtually have to catch the dog in the act, then collar it to read the rego tag because – being a wanton lawbreaker – it’s hardly going to tell you its real name and address.

But bureaucrats in one Taiwanese city did recently dramatically improve pavement sanitation by rewarding with lottery tickets people who handed in bags of dog doo.

In another trial scheme in Sweden, fines collected from speeding motorists were pooled in a lottery for those captured on the same speed camera actually obeying the limits.

Just as inducements can work to reduce the numbers of people transgressing rules, they can also be used to encourage growth, as Macedon Ranges Council recently demonstrated by rewarding a Woodend vet clinic with a rate cut for creating jobs.

Bring on the carrots.


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