Incentive theory is a subset of research on “human motivation” or as I like to call how “How to dangle the carrot and wave the stick around“. For instance, if you’re running a sales office, and you need more sales, what is more effective? Bonuses or threats of people being fired? It comes from a field of psychology made famous and pioneered by B.F. Skinner who did a lot of work on operant conditioning. Those of you who read my post on expectancy theory and equity theory are already partially familiar with this concept and some of its effects.
Sometimes such incentives can have positive effects, such as when you offer a major bonus to the best salesperson. Sometimes they can have very unfortunate effects when the encourage hiring patterns that focus highly on “social fit” and less on ability, education or experience. Sometimes it can have positive effects, such as seeing a quarterback getting laid like a rockstar and that encouraging young boys to try to be good at football. Other times it can have negative effects, such as when a “nice guy” notices that all the guys he knows with girlfriends like to tool them up once in a while and decides that in order to get a girlfriend he has to become the type of guy who tools up women.
A core principle of incentive theory is that people do what you are encouraging them to do in order to reach their goals. If a man wants to get laid like a rockstar, he will adopt the behaviors that make that happen. The 2008 financial crisis is interesting in this respect, in that the system encouraged the very behavior and recruited personalities prone to such behavior, that almost lead to a systemic collapse.
The Western Culture and Incentives
The core enlightenment values of liberty, life and pursuit of happiness were values that melded nicely with protestant values of hard work, self-reliance and stoicism. Combined, these two value-sets created a person who was free to pursue their dreams, goals and ideas, without oppression, through their own hard work, self-reliance and to stand tough in the face of adversity. Through tax systems that permitted a person to keep most of the product of their labor, and law that allowed a person to benefit from their inventions, it created a largely merit-based society that drove us to the technological peak of our species.
The western world in the last 40 – 60 years has really managed to get itself in a bind over these incentives. For instance much of Europe has social programs that create incentives to have a ton of kids that you cannot afford, and raise them on the public dime, over getting a minimum wage job and a few less kids. This combined with the fact that highly educated/high earning people tend to procreate less, and you have a situation where the people who are net-net benefits to your society are dwindling, where those who are net-net losses are growing in numbers. Through Government programs that seek to reduce the natural volatility of capitalism and merit, we have built structures that limit the volatility, but also inherently reduce the personal responsibilities each of us have to bear in our day to day lives.
The pleasure and pain principle
As animals we are programmed to avoid pain and seek net pleasure (pleasure – pain) and we act in accordance with what we have been told to do, or what we have experienced before. For instance, people finish high school, then get a college degree and get a job or their finish high school and go looking for a job, and then they go for the spouse, the children, the house and the picket fence. Because that is, what society has been telling them is the path to happiness. However, as people start to see that high school degrees are valued less because most entry-level jobs require a college diploma now, college in itself has become a pursuit of a checkbox, rather than a pursuit of knowledge. They know that 50% of first marriages end in divorce, with most of them initiated by women, the women is more likely to get full custody and get the house with the picket fence, and they will end up living at poverty levels because of antiquated child support laws. These paths are clearly not what they are being said to be, young men today are being sold an incentive that died in the 60s and 70s.
This results in the creation of concepts such as MGTOW and “Red Pill” where men eschew relationships with women completely, or they decide to live entirely on their own terms and for themselves.
The Growth of the Beta Mindset in the West
Why would a society want a ton of Betas running around? To answer this question we actually have to go back to around 1900, and the world as it was then. The West was the dominant force in the world. The United States of America was slowly becoming the industrial engine of the West, while the sun never set on the British Empire. Both of these countries had a history of masculine values such as might makes right, merit-based systems, incentives to better yourself and the “stiff upper lip”. Of their time, they also had undercurrents of racism, sexism, various forms of bigotry and ethnocentrism.
As we progressed forward, and ended up in first one world war, then a second world-war all before, we reached the mid-century and the ideas of Karl Marx gained a foothold in Russia, which became the Soviet Union. After the fall of The Third Reich, the west felt very guilty about anything that could have led to the extreme forms of racism, sexism, bigotry and veneration of a culture. As a result, the West after this became very anti-racism, anti-sexist, anti-bigot and very much against ethnocentrism. The new call to action was to be tolerant, to be multi-cultural and most importantly, not to judge other cultures from the perspective of our own cultures.
As the century moved forward, we saw the rise of “women’s lib” in the form of second wave feminism, a grouping that sought to give women equal rights in the workplace. We saw the rise of hippie-culture in opposition to the war in Vietnam. There was a rise in alternative research philosophies within the social sciences emphasizing perceptions that are more subjective and the politicization of academia. There was also as with most generations, a rebellion against the values of their parents, in this case “The Greatest Generation” who had learned through experience that sometimes force is needed, that you have to be stoic, that merit is the way to govern, and that principles are more important than emotions.
Males rebelled against their buzzcut, clean shaven, Christian, suit wearing conservative fathers, by growing their hair long, wearing beards, rejecting Christianity and wearing clothing made from god knows what. Females rebelled against their feminine, submissive, stay at home wife, mothers through adopting male styles of dress, rejecting make-up and other symbols of femininity and adopting a male mindset. The hippie culture also venerated peace and love, adopted socialism over merit and infiltrated academia in a much larger degree than ever before. As they started to have children of their own, that would become generation X, they focused on cultivating self-esteem, individuality, empathy and rebellion. Thus, we got the first generation of western children that had no real connection to the values that made the west great, and even rejected many of those values wholesale. There is no greater symbol for this than the “Grunge” era in the early 1990s, where bands like Nirvana bellowed out their emotional existential angst in a way that would have embarrassed their grandfathers.
The unfortunate effect was that since nobody rejected the slow demasculinization of the west, and could see the major systemic effects it was having, it continued to grow in echo chambers. This is the downside of free expression and assembly; bad ideas can be allowed to grow in echo chambers until they reach a critical mass. We saw this most recently with third wave feminism, a variant on feminism that was defeated by scholars such as Christina Hoff-Sommers and Camille Paglia in the 1980s in every debate, yet became dominant due to the infiltration of professorships and other teaching positions in Universities.The most ironic aspect of the infiltration of academia, is that just like the Nazi German academia who spent countless hours and mountains of resources trying to find objective evidence for subjective perceptions, so do many modern social scientists in academia today.
The unfortunate side of this research, the attention it gets in modern journalism and the acceptance by government is that it smears the name of science, and ultimately undermines the structures that can make a society work. Each generation likes to think of itself as more enlightened, but the reality is that the Universe is anything but. Throughout history, we have had many enlightened societies that fell to the barbarians at the gates. Their demise frequently started with the feminization of their societies, which ultimately lead to them being unable to defend their borders.
The changing nature of male-female relationships
When I first started writing this essay, it was much shorter and had a different slant. However, as I was doing the research and reasoning process around it, it changed in nature. It’s likely that the foundation for a beta mindset among men has always existed in some form, but that it is tempered by the society in which it exists. That for instance, a Beta male in Sparta would have been different from the Western manifestation of the same archetype.
The old pattern for a relationship between a male and a female, where the man is protector and provider, and the female offers procreation and housekeeping, was a stable and beneficial pattern for a long time. However, as “women’s liberation” slowly has made the female sexual strategy  and feminine imperative  very clear the pattern has broken down on one side of the swing.
Where a male is still expected to be the protector, the rock, and the provider, in some cases long after a marriage has ended, there are no reciprocal demands placed on the female. The nature of the male-female relationship was always a case of reciprocity, where the male offered what he had and the female offered what she had. The reason for female chastity was a simple resource equation.
A-1 Zero-sum resource game.
A-2 No contraception
A-3 No way of telling who the true father of a child is
Then it follows that in a limited resource game, a man would want to ensure that the children he is investing resources in, are his own. The only way to ensure this is to make sure that his wife has never slept with another man, seeing, as there were no contraceptives. If we add the high risk of death in childbirth both to mother and to child, it follows that in a case where a woman gets pregnant by another man, there is a high risk that the man will lose his investment in the female, without realizing the ultimate goal; a child that is his. Of course, there has always been a situation where a male may sleep with the wife of another male, if she becomes with child, and her husband does not catch up, both the wife and the lover will realize a reproductive benefit. The man, a child for whom he will not need to expend resources. The wife an additional card with different genetics from her other children to play in the reproductive lottery.
If we look at the female perspective of this argument, it looks somewhat different. The female will always be certain that she is the mother. She also derives great benefits from having a husband that is a good provider and protector. However, in order to be certain that her offspring has the best genetics, and thus is the best suited for reproductive success in the future, it may be beneficial for her to obtain high quality genetics from another man, while retaining the benefits of her beta male husband. The only ways in which a woman could ensure both high quality genetics and high quality provision, is through either finding a male that is a high scorer on both, or to get two men, one that scores high on provision and one that scores high on protection.
The question that arises from this is why Betas still exist if alphas would always out-breed them, and the answer is; Beta is both nuture and nature.
How to mass-produce Beta males
Beta males have become an increasing part of the population because throughout the past 40 – 60 years because popular culture and their female friends/feminized fathers/female relatives have told them to go through the steps to become a good provider, then find a wife, have kids and settle down. This stems from the base perception by academia that women are inherently pure, good and empathic, while men are by nature filthy, evil, brutes. This creates a dynamic, wherein boys in school are treated like malfunctioning girls, when they act out, fight, or are restless in a classroom.
It reminds me of a statement by Christopher Hitchens on God, that humans are made broken, and told to not to be broken. Boys and men have been treated for the past 2 – 3 generations as if they are broken. They have been treated with ADHD medication, diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, sent to principal’s offices and told that their gender is the root of all evil. If you look through your average woman’s magazine, you start to notice that women are attracted to confidence. If you take a young boy, and tell him 5 days a week, for 8 – 10 years that he is defective, you undermine confidence.
Furthermore, by putting boys into a school system when they are 5 – 7 years old, where they are told that they are defective every day because they do not behave like little girls, and create an incentive structure wherein they are rewarded for behaving like little girls. You should not be surprised that the result is many boys that have no confidence and behave like women.
The noted exception to this seems to be the boys that show early skill in athletics who are then routed into pursuits that cater to their natural form of behavior and is adapted to handling men. Where aggression, competition, merit, hard word, and achievement result in the young man developing alpha characteristics.
Once the boy who is not fortunate enough to be athletically gifted, hits puberty and develops an interest in the fairer sex, he will seek out information to figure out what to do. He will find countless “romantic comedies”, he may ask his sister(s), or other female relatives, if he is lucky enough to have a father or other male role-model he may ask them. If he lucks out, his path will diverge from the path to beta-hood, if he does not he is in for about 15 – 20 years of misery. Furthermore, he’ll run into campaigns such as #Yesallmen or statements that all men are rapists that serve to make male sexuality dirty and something to be repressed. You cannot be surprised that the west is mass-manufacturing Beta males, when this is what the structural incentives are aligned with doing. With the roles of fathers and male role-models at an all time low, and many of those fathers and role models being the first or second generation “Beta boys” who came of age during “female liberation” other role models are needed.
Popular culture shows that if you just stick around the girl you love, while she is split in half by the “18 guys you should date before settling down” and continue to orbit her, be her shoulder to cry on after they treat her as she should be treated, be her handyman and her errand boy. Then she will finally see what a great and nice guy you are and consider you worthy. This is a certain way to create the perfect Beta, because as I outlined in an earlier post, they are starved for 15 – 20 years (while the woman has her fun) and then when they finally get attention they leap at it and tie the knot. Furthermore, due to the roadmap supplied to him by society, he will spend these 15 – 20 years getting an education, building his career and his life so that she gets a finished husband 1.0 when she decides to settle down.
Masculine males are a great boon to a society, because they are the ones who protect the society in roles such as military, law enforcement, fire departments and other dangerous jobs that are essential to making a society work. However, the current narrative surrounding cases where men are behaving badly, such as breaking the law, or acting in a non-acceptable way, is to put the full weight of what has happened on the male, or the male gender. In essence arguing that the situation is the result of actions the male engaged in.
How to mass produce hypergamic narcissists
When the little girls start school, it differs from the experience that the little boys have. When the little girl enters the school system, she finds a system adapted to her mode of behavior. It favors cooperation over competition, social skills over academic skills, psychological bullying is punished less than physical bullying and most of her teachers will be female. She will be surrounded by government programs to tell her that she is special, that she can do anything she sets her mind to, and that build her confidence and sense of self.
As she grows up and hits puberty, she’ll find that boys can be easily controlled through utilizing her sexuality. Furthermore, she’ll notice that she is encouraged to explore her sexuality. She is told that it is a woman’s prerogative to change her mind, that she will not be held accountable for her words or actions, and that a simple complaint to an administrator can get a boy in loads of trouble. She also finds out that if she happens to get pregnant due to “forgetting” to take her pill, or contraceptive, she can get an abortion, a morning after pill, or just leave her baby at designated locations.
When she finally decides to settle down, and find that her marriage does not satisfy her as she thought it would, society will encourage her to seek happiness. She will find books like “Eat, Pray, Love” that encourage her to get a divorce and spend a year or two just playing around again. When she seeks a divorce she can be almost certain to get custody of any children and that if she decides to not pay child-support the courts will not enforce the agreement. If she decides to have an affair, she can be sure that she won’t be demonized, and may even be lionized as a “strong, independent woman” taking charge of her own sexuality.
If she is one of the women who decides to abuse their husband, she can be relatively certain that society will just laugh at him, or refuse to believe him if he files a report . If she isolates him and drains his finances, she will know that he has no shelter to run to, or a help line to call. Furthermore, if she wants to get rid of him she can simply bang her head on something and call the police to have him dragged out in handcuffs.
So, to summarize, as a woman, she is raised to believe she is special and can do anything she wants to, and be certain that society is rigged to make sure that she does not have to bear the consequences of her actions. The narrative surrounding cases of female killers, abusers, rapists and so on is a narrative wherein the woman’s actions are not the fault of the woman, but a natural consequence of what has happened to that woman.
Summary and Conclusions
Incentives are important because ultimately, humans respond to them and they shape behavior. Therefore, if the individual decisions of humans create social incentive structures that are inherently anti-social this creates a society that ends up in a negatively loaded feedback loop that creates more behavior that is negative.
Society gains great benefits from the traditional family unit, namely it ensures that children have both a mother and a father to take care of them and raise them . Economically, the state attempts replace men through child support legislation, but in terms of a deal, this tends to be a raw one for the male. Child support payments are frequently excessive, does not take into account that the man needs money to live, and can often be enforced without any right to spend time with your children.
What western society is doing at the present moment, is to encourage a perception of the feminine as inherently good, and the masculine as inherently bad. Causing women to feel entitled, and men to feel guilty. This creates a structure wherein, women feel the permission to do whatever they want, whenever they want, and where men feel obligated to accept the consequences of the female’s actions.
For instance, society creates an incentive structure where men are built into beta males. This is done by eradicating traditional male spaces, vilifying masculinity through terms such as “toxic masculinity” or the meme that all men are rapists. By blowing aspects of “lad culture” out of proportion and by expanding “sexual assault” to a point where even saying “Hi” to a woman can get you expelled from a University. If we look at the more heavily publicized campaigns such as “He for she” or “Give your money to women” they are campaigns to reinforce the traditional protector and provider dynamic, that was the cornerstone of gender relationships for millennia, without the prerequisite actions by the female.
To draw a parallel to some of the feminist arguments about consent, namely that regret = rape, and that a woman can withdraw consent even after a sexual encounter has taken place, this removes agency from women, and make them into objects that are acted upon. Which, funnily enough is the exact opposite of what original feminists wanted. In embryo, a structure is created in which men always bear the responsibility, but women decide the course of action.