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I think that we'd be amazed at the good that a campaign that showed a few celebrities taking the bus, and getting local notables to take the bus in cities would do to change that.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 04:29:18 PM EST
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I don't think it would do anything, other than give Faux News an opportunity to use the term "Hollywood liberal" a few times before going back to blaming speculators or Mexicans or whatever new bogeyman the assholes have come up with this week.

Nothing's going to change in any significant way with fluffy pitches from Madison Ave.  It might give a few people a warm, fuzzy feeling to have the knowledge that they're "doing their part" or something, but it's meaningless without a fundamental shift in people's understanding of the possible and necessary with an eye toward the future.  The only way people are going to swallow their pride and take the damned bus is by making the cars too expensive.

Which is why we should be raising gas taxes to push people that way, and using the money for subsidies and projects out in places where there's no alternative.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 04:54:09 PM EST
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In Confucius Lives Next Door  journalist T.R. Reid tells the story of living in Tokyo and being constantly surprised by the signs encouraging socially beneficial behavior.  He asked himself, "Does this mean that the Japanese have to constantly be minded to make them do right?"  

In the end he concluded the opposite, in "Western" cultures we focus more on punishing bad behavior through social sanction giving people the idea that everyone is cheating and only idiots don't do so.  By reinforcing good behavior the Japanese get better outcomes that we in the West do by punishing bad behavior.  Because everyone always hears about what was done right.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 05:43:46 PM EST
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And that's fine, but I seem to recall Asian nations using such positive reinforcement mechanisms as thousand-dollar fines for littering, bans on chewing gum, and use of forced labor to shame those guilty of antisocial behavior.  Which isn't to say that actual positive reinforcement doesn't play a role, but Reid strikes me as being simply infatuated with Confucianism more than anything.

Nothing against Confucianism, but I suspect it is, in typical journamalist fashion, a shallow, Tom-Friedman-goes-to-Infosys take.

It also sounds a bit similar to the old line from the 1980s about magical Japanese business techniques that would leave the rest of the world in the dust.  But, while the Japanese do a lot of things really well (you'll find I'm a big cheerleader for their automotive work), it didn't quite work out that way.

And, in any event, I'm willing to bet that making the gas too expensive will do a lot more to move people in the right direction than a Lindsey Lohan poster.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 07:01:53 AM EST
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in "Western" cultures we focus more on punishing bad behavior through social sanction giving people the idea that everyone is cheating and only idiots don't do so.

I don't know about that. Do you remember the campaigns against roadside littering and the use of seat belts and child seats. Sure there are sanctions, but I believe it was conscience and constant reminders that created the changes in behavior. (I know that these days littering has returned, but is it because of punishment,the lack of enforcement or just because there are no more ads?)  

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 03:56:13 PM EST
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... train system, including extending the line to newly established suburbs that it had not originally serviced before it was closed, they integrated local bus routes with the train ... and found that people would take a short bus "to catch the train".

See, that's a good excuse, because it saves the hassle of parking at the train station.

... but actually taking the bus all the way somewhere ... that's for losers.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 10:47:21 PM EST
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