Amerika

When We Fail To Punish Failure, We Fail

Economists talk in terms of wealth, material goods and power, but what really balances all the books, in the end, is incentives. What are people motivated to do? What are their goals, and just what are they willing to do in order to hang up that “Mission Accomplished” banner? Perhaps economics, more than being a study of money, serves as a bastard offshoot of psychology that uses dollar bills to keep score.

Incentives work best when you ditch the fifty shades of gray and zero-sum subsidies. Screw the participation trophies and only give one for the winner. Draw up a logically air-tight description of success and another, far less savory description of what it is to achieve failure. The incentives have to be clear and point like an arrow to success. Otherwise, you get Clownworld.

Here’s what Clownworld looks like in MLB this season. It’s an MLB team representing Baltimore in a way that is almost as realistic as an episode of The Wire.

Here’s a quick recap of the last week for the Orioles, a group of kindergarteners masquerading as a baseball team.

  • Their first baseman, who’s being paid $23 million this season and has nearly twice as many strikeouts as total bases, had to be restrained from fighting their manager.
  • They gave up 32 runs and 16 homers (!) in three games to the Yankees.
  • They gave up 23 runs in a single game to the Astros, who hit five homers against them — the 18th time a team has hit five or more home runs in one game against Baltimore pitching.
  • They gave up 19 runs in a doubleheader on Monday to the Yankees, including three homers to Gleyber Torres, who’s hit 13 against them this year.
  • In that doubleheader, they set a new franchise and American League record for most homers allowed in a single season and are now just 10 away from the all-time MLB record of 258 in the second week of August.
  • One of their outfielders had a flyball clank off his head as he tried to catch it.
  • Another outfielder threw a ball roughly four feet and in the wrong direction as he tried to get it back into the infield.
  • And they’re now 39–80 with a run differential of -237 and on pace to lose 109 games — and that would be a six-game improvement on last year’s results.

It’s so bad that Sports Illustrated puts away the SJW mascara and goes all Bad Orange Man on the Baltiless Orioles’ roster. Here’s how incentives should work.

…there’s no better way to stop tanking in baseball than to borrow a page from the Premier League’s book and institute relegation. At the end of the season, the six worst teams in the majors — three from each league — are sent down to Triple A. If the Orioles aren’t capable of contending at the major league level, then they shouldn’t be here.

But this won’t happen. People want to pay for a patsy. The Harlem Globetrotters could have retweeted #HireWhitePeople. This is because they hired a whole group of them to play for The Washington Generals and lose every night. Baseball’s revenue sharing agreement essentially does this. MLB is essentially paying four squads of morons to lose 100 games each. If chicks dig the long ball, you need loser pitching staffs to hand them out like candy, and so the Clown Show grinds on for 162 games.

How does this play out with more important institutions? These other institutions are also happy not to do their jobs for a suitable fee. Expect 4chan to wind up like 8chan. That would create a world where nobody in the media would ever have had to report on Jeffrey Epstein’s deeply puzzling Clintoncide. This, you see, is what our powerful people would like the media to do for a living: fail to report what the rest of us are not supposed to know.

And then there’s how the !SCIENCE! is all settled. Is there a single scientific mind in academia that doesn’t know this stuff is all wrong as they tell us otherwise? People don’t like sucking that completely. They have to be subsidized/threatened to be willing to suck that badly. Not even The Piltdown Man was an innocent scientific mistake. This, below is what sux truly looks like.

The world is going to end soon unless drastic climate action is taken.
Well then, how soon?

In the year 2000 – oops that report is thirty years old.
In the year 2010 – oops that report is twenty years old
In the year 2020 – oops that report is ten years old.
It is definitely going to end the year 2030.

That is definitely right. All scientists agree. It is the scientific consensus, and if any scientists fail to agree, they will lose their jobs.

If you doubt it, you are anti-intellectual and anti-science.

So to eradicate that level of suckage from your immediate vicinity, change the incentives. Perhaps the smartest two words that Donald J. Trump ever said were “You’re fired!” Most of us are not Roger Bannister or Thomas Alva Edison. We unfortunately don’t tend to just wake up one morning and decide to go all in on greatness. We can be moved closer or further away from greatness than our particular internal equilibrium would otherwise position us. It depends on the incentives.

Tanking sports teams, dishonest media publications, and pseudo-erudite science woo all come from the same wellspring. Badness is rewarded.

Clownworld took over our world while whatever still remains of poor Plato spun in the grave. Where you have the power, where you have influence, demand better. Eventually, losers like The Orioles stop being lovable. Eventually Clownworld stops being a joke. It’s not funny when you get stuck living there.

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