Great Russian writer Dostoevsky described a scene guaranteed to make the hardest sadist cry. In his 1800’s novel Brothers Karamazov, he tells of a wagon driver whipping to death a poor donkey who can’t carry the load packed onto the cart..
Tyrants want their will to be done. They will whip to death anyone who won’t bend to their will. They are a global menace in a world needing cooperation to address huge challenges like climate change and political stability to fuel economic prosperity for all near-200 countries of the world. Make people happy at home and they won’t be a refugee burden to others seems a global no-brainer. Yet tyrants like the American Trump, the Russian Putin and the North Korean Kim Jung-Un persist in fueling fear to wrest compliance.
Folk wisdom galore warns of the futility in exerting undue force. “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink,” is one proverb. “You catch more bees with honey than with vinegar” is another. The point of all that common sense advice throughout the ages is to promote the common good against forces that would subvert it for personal gain. The folly of coercion is evident from those engaged in that form of weilding the power they hold. In the modern world, the more they push the greater the push-back. In the tech info age, the phenomenon is global.
Mighty Russia planned to roll over Ukraine the same way that Donald Trump captured the American conservative party by wooing those vulnerable to fairy tale thinking. Our country will be great again, just follow the leader. The great UK suffered the same fate. Its leader promised glory if the country broke free of sister European states promoting global cooperation for economic growth. Brexit has crippled the UK economy in the same way that Russia faces economic decay in wake of social isolation on the global stage. Countries around the world both big and small take note as they await the outcome of the fight between carrot and stick in the wealthiest parts of the world.
Those rich industrialized countries aare already engaged with up an comers like Saudi Arabis in good and bad ways. Money speaks loudly but noise does not make for sustainable stability. The little people of all countries determine the future and those little people vote for the satisfying carrot over the painful stick by unifing across borders.
The change from a stick to carrot approach to leading the world does not happen overnight. But the idea is contagious and produces results simply because it feels good.
The women of Afghanistan got a taste of freedom and opportunity while Americans were there. Political necessity put the restrictive Taliba temporarily back in power. But that window freedom inspired the people of Iran to grasp for the gold. They haven’t won yet but they haven’t given up. Sooner or later as the global momentum builds, the stick weilders will have to yield because happiness is a more powerful motivator than fear. “Spare the rod and spoil the child” may have worked in days of yore, just as batting a woman on the head to get a mate was an acceptable social norm. But plenty of scientific proof as well as personal experience today proves that carrots work better as motivators than sticks.