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Opinion

Giving rewards increases vaccination rates

I once asked a doctor if the in-house gym attendance could be increased by giving a reward for using it. He said to me “I don’t believe in rewarding people for something they should do.” This is an archaic way of thinking.

If you read at this link for Vaccination you will learn that small incentives increase the vaccination rates. I am glad that there are free donuts. People do respond to this and are doing their vaccinations because of this. Anything that helps encourage vaccination should be done.

Wouldn’t it be in everyone’s best interest to encourage their customers to vaccinate? Couldn’t banks offer something like a car payment, a free haircut or anything that people need? Certainly, a living customer is better than a dead one? Of course, most companies won’t do this. Mostly because they don’t believe in a long-term relationship.

What is the cost to society when we think always in the short term? It means that the problems that rather than fully solve a problem, we band-aid it and then kick it down the road for further generations to deal with. We have done this for decades on so many social issues: racism, poverty, drug problems, education. We say that we want a free and equal society, but really all we want is to get rich and to hell with everyone else.

I don’t agree with this kind of thinking. Society can’t exist when all parts don’t have a chance to grow and become. Roman society had slaves and just like the modern US, they will revolt when we continue to treat them badly. Rome only passed laws to improve the slave’s lives when they revolted and posed a danger to Rome. Rome eventually lost its power partly because of the inequality in their society.

We need health, education, job security and opportunity for all. If donuts help us get there, I am all for it.

The Fate of one is shared by all

One of my favorite cartoons in the past was Dungeons & Dragons. It was so creative and fun and I wished it had continued. One of the things that I liked the most was the wise things the DM said. In one episode he said “The fate of one is shared by all.”

He was talking about unicorns and that if you help one unicorn you help them all. I have often thought of this saying as I have grown up and been amazed that people don’t understand this.

This is not some mystical new age saying that you can’t prove. You can directly prove this. Our health right now depends on the health of everyone around the world. The weakest link of health care is where this virus can develop into a more dangerous strain. It is finally clear and in everyones self-interest to prioritize health care.

Yet why do we have this problem? We have this virus problem because we have a bigger problem with empathizing and seeing the shared humanity that we all have. We pretend that we only need to be concerned about ourselves, and that our choices will only hurt us alone. The truth is that all of our choices collectively help shape that kind of world it will be.

Our problems as a society are directly related to our inability to see this fundamental truth. We are only as healthy as our sickest individual. We are only as free as our more unjustly held prisoner. We are only as happy as the most unhappy people who is thinking of committing suicide. We all win when we seek win/win with others, and too often people have this short term thinking that their win can come at the cost of others. This is the path to self and societal destruction.

Fate could have put any of us in any one else’s place. Why wouldn’t you care about making life as good as it can be for everyone? Or is your own view that only your life has value?