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In politics, motivation isn’t important

In politics, motivation doesn’t matter

A political science professor once said to me “In politics, motivation doesn’t matter.”  I don’t think I have ever really understood that until I read the current Economist debate on “Who is leading the fight against climate change?”

Pro: Peggy Liu
“For Chinese people who see, smell and touch pollution every day, climate change leadership is closely related to personal health.” Read more

Con: Max Schulz
“China is not pursuing lower energy consumption per unit of GDP because of warming. It is pursuing it because it wants to be rich.” Read more

Does it matter why the Chinese reduce emissions. Surely if emissions are important then it is just important that they do?

How much credence do you give to motivation?

I’m trying to figure this out here.

I think that maybe when we feel out-of-control that we look for sound lasting relationships.

We are more likely to manage by outcomes when we have control.

What gives us a feeling of control?  Knowledge, a well-developed world view, the temperament of no-drama Obama, a willingness to accept that other people will act in their own interests?

Another spiral effect, I think. We trust because we trust.  And we don’t trust because we don’t trust.

Maybe when we worry about the motivation of others, we should stop and list all the factors that ARE under our control.  What can we count on?  How would we see the world then?

Am I on the right track?

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Published in Economy & International Relations

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