The Personalist Project

Accessed on September 26, 2023 - 6:11:13

Stigma and motivation

Katie van Schaijik, Dec 01, 2009

A Chestertonian paradox: scarcity is the root of romance, is echoed (I think) in an American Enterprise blogpost by Charles Murray titled, “Stigma makes generosity feasible.”

Stigma is the only way that a free society can be generous, whether through private help or government programs. The dilemma is as old as charity: how to give help without creating a cycle in which more people need help. Stigma is the way out.

I see his point.  But I wonder whether it’s really true.  Is stigma or shame or punishment the only means of dis-incentivising bad behavior?  Are there not higher and deeper forms of motivation?