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Buried under sanctions

Incentives are necessary!

The second statement, incentives must not be lacking, is used by opposition politicians to justify the retention of sanctions for the citizen’s income to be negotiated today in the mediation committee. You read that right! They want to create incentives with sanctions!


I imagine that if your dog does not come immediately when called, you „motivate“ it for this lack of cooperation by beating it so that next time it will dutifully fulfil its obligation to come immediately. And joyfully, of course! An absolutely absurd idea. 

Incentives are literally stimuli that attract.

 On the other hand, sanctions are „disincentives“ that trigger escape reactions. Motivation has something to do with pleasant feelings. Income cuts do not do that any more than beatings do. On the contrary, in healthy organisms, they trigger fruit flight reactions. 

I admit that this complete disregard for the last 100 years of research on motivation is widespread. The preference for emphasising error is everywhere in everyday conversations, the daily press, and our educational system. Instead of seeing mistakes as welcome learning opportunities, they are sanctioned in the mistaken belief that sanctions reduce the likelihood of mistakes occurring. 

It has been proven that they do not! To reduce the incidence of errors, it is necessary to promote the behaviours that bring the desired result. In the case of previous Hartz IV recipients, this means first establishing a good contact with them, and then working out with them how they can cooperate to their own advantage. The likely decision of the Mediation Committee today will destroy this possibility. 

In an earlier post on the same topic, my esteemed colleague @Manuela Raak

wrote the following for the group of young and school-age children:

„Alone what children learn in the first year. Everyone has it in them, this self-efficacy and inner drive. But, unfortunately, for many, that lies buried under sanctions.“

To overcome current problems, we urgently need a positive culture of mistakes in our society. 

We have to start with the promotion of our children.