Singapore was ranked 23 out of 144 countries in the Global Peace Index (GPI). Achieving a score of 1.533 out of 5 (the lower the score, the more peaceful the country), this year’s showing is 6 places higher than in 2008. It is the second most peaceful country in Asia, preceded only by Japan. New Zealand, Denmark and Norway form the three most peaceful countries in the world. Conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, this is the third edition of the GPI – a study that ranks countries around the world according to their peacefulness and the drivers that create and sustain their peace.
I’ve always enjoyed reading about Richard Wiseman’s experiments. They’re almost always fun, quirky and provide a great way to jumpstart a conversation at parties. In case you’ve haven’t heard of him, he’s the dude who went on a hunt for that holiest of grails known as the world’s funniest joke. Ask yourself, can there be a more worthwhile calling? I know you’re piqued about the results, so here’s the link.
However, that’s not the particular experiment I’d like to point out today. This one hits a bit closer to home. Conducted a couple of years back, the esteemed Wiseman and his austere team of scientists brought it upon themselves to determine the pace of life in different cities by, well, measuring how fast people walked.
Things have been a bit crazy lately. It’s a bit hard to update regularly when you’re keeping 14-hour days. But I’m hoping it won’t carry on for too long and I’m sure I’ll be able to come up with a workable routine for this blog. Ancora Imparo. Anyway, here’s something that I know well enough that I don’t have to spend too much research on.
That fount of wisdom, H.L. Mencken, once defined wealth as “any income that is at least one hundred dollars more per year than the income of one’s wife’s sister’s husband.”
I’m sure most business students would be familiar with Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory and money’s place within it. In short, a person’s salary, no matter how high, would not be able to make her satisfied at work, it merely prevents her from being dissatisfied (hence, it is a hygiene factor). However, the Brafman brothers refer to several experiments that suggest that, at least in some circumstances, a monetary reward actually serves as a disincentive.
Ori and Rom Brafman recount an interesting episode that sheds light on the psychological effects that monetary incentives have on us. In Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behaviour, they visit Switzerland in 1993, where the Swiss government was planning to designate either one of two small towns as nuclear waste repositories. Two researchers were interested as to how the townspeople would react and went out to get some answers.