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British Housing Crisis

In: Business and Management

Submitted By butrous89
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What have you discovered about how you construct your own mental model & ladders of inference on issues and phenomena in general.
Upon reflecting on how the use of mental models and the ladder of inference affected my handling of a problem regarding incentives, I was forced to conclude that it made me more disciplined and logical. I found that the use of mental models gave me a greater awareness of the economic, psychological and sociological incentives and motivations that define people’s actions. A particularly good example of this is how I was forced to reconsider my views on the long term unemployed. I come from a middle class background with a strong business ethos in my family. It is undeniable that this led to me being engrained with the impression that if people are unable to find work, it is due in part to a lack of initiative. The discipline that the use of the ladder of inference forced on me led me to realize that it is possible for people to become locked in to a cycle of poverty through a lack of incentives being provided to them. If people are not provided with means or incentives, it is very hard for them to improve their lives.

What do you feel easy & hard?
Additionally, I feel that the project regarding incentives crystallized some thoughts regarding my previous work in car sales that lay unformed till now regarding the unrecognized importance of incentives. In my time working in the industry, I was continually surprised as time after time, people purchased cars that had hugely inflated prices overs cars that offered similar functionality along with a much more reasonable price tag. However, I feel that this inability to understand people’s actions in the past can now be viewed differently due to my work regarding incentives. In the past, I was judging cars from a purely technical point of view, while the man in the street is much more susceptible to advertising. Thus, while I was trying to sell a functional product, the average customer had a different incentive when they were looking to make a purchase. They were oftentimes looking to buy into a certain life style or image of luxury in buying a certain car. With hindsight, their motivations and incentives seem very clear and even obvious. I think that through this sharp learning curve, I have identified a weakness of mine, an inability at times to read in between the lines and better perceive the situation. However, it is undeniable that the use of mental models and focusing on the issue of incentives has helped me to remedy this weakness and provided me with a valuable skillset for the future.

Where do you feel your own construction of your mental models and ladders of inference might need improvement?
It is undeniable that at points, my use of mental models could be better and in hindsight, was in need of improving. In my project regarding incentives, I made repeated reference to the fact that for proactive measures to be taken, the Government would have to provide funding. However, it has since occurred to me that the long term unemployed have a very negative image in this country, with phrases such as “leeches to society” being ubiquitous in describing them. Thus, the Government may be unwilling to provide funding for the scheme I described due to public opinion, as now is a time of cutbacks in areas more popular with the public such as health and education. This failure to perceive a possible problem with that could potentially derail the scheme I described was undoubtedly a failing. I should have described measures for an ad that would have made the general public more aware of how the Government has a duty to maintain the welfare of all members of Irish society while describing how measures taken now would save money in the long term. Thus, the public would have been given a moral and financial incentive to support the scheme. The project was valuable in allowing me to see ways in which my ladder of inference could be improved.

What have I learned about my own mental models & ladders of inference through examining the work of others?
In order to broaden my perception of the applications of mental models and the ladder of inference, I examined the work of one of my classmates. I was amazed at the way he managed to integrate economic concepts of supply, demand, and the idea of a decreasing marginal rate of utility into his analysis of the negative aspects of Facebook use. I think that my consultancy paper would have benefitted from an increased focus on the fundamentals of economic thought as done by my classmate. Such a focus would have given the ladder of inference that I created a broader and more analytic perspective. While there is no doubt that my paper was concerned with the link between an economic problem and the role of incentives in providing a solution, I feel that I could have been more explicit in my description of my mental model.

What connections did you find yourself making to your past experiences when thinking about the issues of incentives?
A major connection I made between this project and my past experiences relates to my work selling milk deliveries. Incentives were central to both the project and the job. In my project, I provided a scheme that dealt with providing different incentives to those on the live register in order to get them back into the work force. I learned that providing both financial and moral incentives is key to remedying the situation and ensuring that it doesn’t worsen. I would like to be to transfer the same know how I have now to when I was working to promote milk deliveries. When selling door to door, my main point of argument was the fact that in the long term, door-to-door was undoubtedly cheaper than purchasing milk in a shop. However, I now think that I should have placed a greater emphasis on the benefits of supporting local farmers and local businesses over a multinational firm whose profits leave the country. This would have provided consumers with a personal incentive, which might have proven more effective than the financial and utilitarian incentive I was emphasizing to potential customers. The understanding that I gained through this project regarding incentives will undoubtedly be useful in future occupations and endeavors.…...

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