People respond to incentives and disincentives. Sticks and carrots work. – Charles Murray
Ordinary people are massively baffled by the weird recent behavior of several major corporations. They look at the behavior of Anheuser-Busch, or Jack Daniels, or Nike, or Disney, and scratch their heads. “What could they have been thinking?” is the usual plaint. Viewed from the incentive structures ordinary people face, the recent behavior of these corporate giants is incomprehensible. Those companies’ severe losses strike us as to be expected…because we would have expected disasters of the same degree, from comparable behavior on our part.
Ace’s article on Disney tells a strange tale:
Disney’s woke agenda is already destroying shareholder value:
The company is now trading 30 percent lower than its pre-Covid numbers and 87 percent below its 2021 peak.
[Disney CEO Bob] Iger defended taking divisive political position after divisive political position, and vowed to keep on doing it, claiming Disney had to push “its values,” despite these obviously not being Disney’s values, but Iger’s and his woke executive corps’.
He did some double-talk and said that he would keep focus on “entertainment” while pushing Disney’s “values,” but refused to give an inch on pushing his radical Not-So-Secret Gay Agenda.
Disney’s financials and stock market performance make it plain that the recent adoption of an undisguised LGBTQ agenda – something Bob Iger has openly promoted – has hurt the company and its stockholders. In the usual case, this kind of performance from a chief executive officer would cause his Board of Directors to toss him out, with or without a golden handshake. Yet Iger remains in control of Disney as of this morning.
Why? Ask that question of everyone involved:
- Why does Iger persist?
- Why do his first-level subordinates cooperate?
- Why does Disney’s Board of Directors permit it to continue?
- Why do Disney’s lower-level employees permit the ruination of their products?
- Why does anyone continue to patronize Disney, purchase Disney products, or visit its parks?
The answers must lie in the incentives and disincentives those persons face. But we must remember that they don’t all face the same ones.
Decent people must surely be outraged at the treatment suffered by women’s swimming star Riley Gaines at the hands of “transgender activists” at San Francisco State University:
Turning Point USA and Leadership Institute invited Gaines to speak at an event on the SFSU campus exploring women’s athletics and the inequalities that female competitors could face against transgender opponents.
Gaines, a former NCAA swimmer from the University of Kentucky, was reportedly forced to barricade herself in a room for three hours for her own safety when student protesters became violent and unruly.
“She told me she was hit multiple times by a guy in a dress. I was shaking. It made me that mad. It makes me sick to feel so helpless about it,” Gaines’s husband, Louis Barker, told Fox News. “She was under police protection and was still hit by a man wearing a dress.”
Footage of the campus chaos was shared by Gaines on Twitter in the early hours of Friday morning showing trans activists berating her as security tries to escort the 12-time All-America swimmer to safety.
“The prisoners are running the asylum at SFSU…I was ambushed and physically hit twice by a man,” Gaines wrote in the tweet. “This is proof that women need sex-protected spaces. Still only further assures me I’m doing something right. When they want you silent, speak louder.”
San Francisco, once a beautiful city, has descended into a demonic hellhole. Gaines was surely aware of the conditions that prevail there. Yet she agreed to speak at SFSU, and paid a hefty personal price for doing so. Why? Look also at the reverse of the coin: why did those “transgender activists” assault her? How did they succeed, despite the security cordon provided by the university?
At SUNY Albany, free-speech activist Ian Haworth was shouted down by “transgender activists.” The incentive structures would appear to be similar to those at SFSU.
There’s a lot more I could link and quote, but the point here is to get people to ask the right questions. Why? Who gains? Who loses? Who would gain and who would lose were the responses of “the authorities” different? What about Us the People? Is it possible to understand what we’re seeing from the rational perspective of cause-and-effect / profit-and-loss? What about what we of the general public are doing or not doing?
Should we arrive at an understanding of it, how would we change our own behavior? Greatly, moderately, slightly, or not at all? And whatever changes we might make to ourselves, what consequential changes could we expect from those who are destroying all semblance of public order and peace?
I persist in believing that the phenomena we’re seeing are comprehensible according to the pertinent incentives. I must hope that the appropriate changes to our reactions to them could mitigate them, if not eliminate them entirely. It might be Pollyannaish of me. Nevertheless! I was born into a peaceful, orderly, and largely free country, and I want that country back. Millions of other Americans feel the same. Therefore…?
Am I shouting into the wind?