B. F. Skinner

Each of us has interests which conflict the interests of everybody else… ‘everybody else’ we call ‘society’. It’s a powerful opponent and it always wins. Oh, here and there an individual prevails for a while and gets what he wants. Sometimes he storms the culture of a society and changes it to his own advantage. But society wins in the long run, for it has the advantage of numbers and of age.

Fame is also won at the expense of others. Even the well-deserved honors of the scientist or man of learning are unfair to many persons of equal achievements who get none. When one man gets a place in the sun, the others are put in a denser shade. From the point of view of the whole group there’s no gain whatsoever, and perhaps a loss.

We have seen that in certain respects operant reinforcement resembles the natural selection of evolutionary theory. Just as genetic characteristics which arise as mutations are selected or discarded by their consequences, so novel forms of behavior are selected or discarded through reinforcement.