Self control, and farming online

May 31, 2011

Today’s discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass started with a look at self-control in the age of abundance. Over at Reason.com Daniel Akst  looks at stickK.com which encourages people to make commitment contracts:

The Commitment Contract concept is based on two well known principles of behavioral economics:

1.People don’t always do what they claim they want to do, and
2.Incentives get people to do things.
 
From there we went farming online. My Farm is a fundraising initiative by the National Trust.

They’re inviting people to pay a 30 pound annual subscription which will allow them to help run a real farm on the internet:

The farm is on the National Trust’s Wimpole Estate. You’ll be part of a group of 10,000 online Farmers working with farm manager Richard Morris to decide how it should be run. You’ll vote once a month, discuss the issues with other members and explore the world of farming.

The first vote will go live on Thursday 26 May 2011. From then onwards Farmers will vote at least once a month on different issues to do with the everyday running of the farm. The three big themes are the crops we grow, the livestock we breed, and the wider impacts of the farm on our environment and wildlife.

It’s an innovative way to help people bridge the urban-rural divide by letting them reconnect with farming and learn more about how food is produced.

If this comment is anything to go by some of the on-line farmers have a lot to learn:

How long does it take for the seed to germinate? I am wondering how many days of day we are gambling on here? And how much money? Can half the field be done at a time? Or is this an all or nothing decision?

With1,000 members signed up in the first couple of days the fundraising and education aspects should be successful. It will be interesting to see what impact the farming by vote has on production.

(Hat tip: Offsetting Behaviour).

We went from there to lost in a book at the Mail Online which introduces the concept of inattentional deafness.

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