External rewards and punishments are counterproductive when it comes to activities that are meaningful — tasks that telegraph something about a person’s intellectual abilities, generosity, courage or values. People will voluntarily perform intellectually arduous work, for example, because it gives them pleasure to solve a puzzle or win a game of wits.
You could read the rest of Shankar Vedantam’s column on internal and external motivation. And then consider Gary Becker’s provocative idea to charge $50,000 a person for the right to become an American citizen.
Yes, there is a lot of framing in this post.