B. F. Skinner

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.

The evolution of cultures appears to follow the pattern of the evolution of species. The many different forms of culture which arise correspond to the “mutations” of genetic theory. Some forms prove to be effective under prevailing circumstances and others not, and the perpetuation of the culture is determined accordingly.

Society already possesses the psychological techniques needed to obtain universal observance of a code – a code which would guarantee the success of a community or state. The difficulty is that these techniques are in the hands of the wrong people-or, rather, there aren’t any right people.