There is a law somewhere about rewards and punishments. It states that there are three dimensions of the outcome of an action:
- positive or negative
- immediate or delayed
- certain or uncertain
The most powerful motivator is positive, immediate, and certain. The second most is, I think, negative, immediate, and certain.
For sure the weakest motivator is an outcome that is negative, delayed, and uncertain.
“Wait till your father gets home” comes to mind.
Supposedly we get the kind of government we deserve. I am not sure I believe that. I don’t think the conscripts in Viet Nam deserved the government that sent them there, nor the PTSD veterans of failed experiments in regime change (Iraq, Afghanistan, and others.)
We get the government, and economic system, that we allow to be built up around us over years, decades even. It’s the ‘boil the frog’ technique. Each little bit of dismantling of protection for the common citizen goes more or less un-noticed. (I might remark here that the dismantling of protections that led to the 2008 crash also went under the radar for too many of us, although there were lots of warnings from newspaper columnists like Paul Krugman.)
So now our American friends have an electoral system within an economic system that systematically (pun intended) robs the poor to pay the rich, and lobbies the voters with some of that money. (I might mention the redrawing of voting boundaries in Texas, which is credited with W’s second term victory by some. There are a lot of ways to use influence to magnify that influence.)
So now we are six weeks, more or less, from the ‘moment of truth.’ But the actual reward / result of the American election will be delayed a couple of months more, and will unfold for perhaps four years or so. The effects may last indefinitely. Canada cannot possibly be immune to this, nor can any other ally or trading partner of the USA.
I predict that the result of the election of the next president of the United States of America will be delayed, and negative. Right now it appears to be uncertain as well.
Which means, given the ‘law’ I started this entry with, we won’t learn much from it.
Is that what we deserve? (That’s not a dumb question.)