Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Rules influence people's behaviors in ways that allow our society to function. Without them, there will be no order in the world, and the world is going to turn into a complete chaos.

So why are rules effective in altering or influencing people's behaviors? I think this is quite obvious--people follow rules to avoid the bad consequences. In other words, the negative consequences serve as a disincentive for breaking the rules. For example, the possibility of getting fired precludes workers from not arriving at work on time, and potential imprisonment stop people from stealing items. 

However, what if a rule had no consequences for breaking it? Would it still be effective? I do not think so. For example, if there were no penalties for using hands while playing soccer, all players would naturally want to use their hands as it would be much easier to score that way. In fact, they would have to use their hands as it would be the only way to defeat the other team. This means that rules would equate to nothing if there were no negative consequences for breaking them.
Finally, I am getting to my point. As something similar to rules, due dates would also only be effective if there were consequences for not meeting them. In school, the most common consequence is getting a few percentages off of the final mark, and to me this is a reasonable and essential penalty because this makes it fair  for people who have handed their work on time and this is the only way to ensure that most students do not hand things in late.

Unfortunately, my career class happens to be a class where the due dates do not seem to be significant. Today we were supposed to be handing in our career wheels, but many people had not even start on theirs and the teacher extended it to tomorrow, with no penalty at all. What upset me was not the fact that they could hand the assignments in tomorrow, but the fact that the teacher did not seem to care at all and seemed to be ready to give out one-month extensions without penalties.

I wanted to ask him, "what's the point of having these due dates?"