“I suggest you read up on extrinsic vs intrinsic motivation”
Before I go running off and wasting time, tell me what changed since grad school back in the early 90’s. (I have Masters work completed in Ed Psych/Ed Soc). At that time, the textbook studies of extrinsic vs intrinsic student motivation showed 87% extrinsic vs 13% intrinsic. I thought that was so shocking I chose the topic for a paper.
If you have more recent studies to refer to, I’ll be glad to take a look at them. However, I do note that in your own discussion which you link to, you yourself wrote:
Most of our behaviour is extrinsically motivated. It is the focus of this article, in fact, to help you become a better ‘extrinsic motivator’.
….so apparently we’re in agreement on that part, at least.
Once you understand self-determination theory, you might revise your view of humanity and whether people would “obviously not” work if they didn’t have to (it’s not true).
Let me extend what was obviously a curt reply. I should have brought in the concept of societally PRODUCTIVE work as opposed to unproductive. Hence, my view is this:
If there be no negative economic consequences to not working productively as defined by economic and social reality, I see no convincing evidence that sufficient people would choose to engage in productive work so as to avoid detrimental societal consequences.
If you believe you can refute that POV, feel free. But it’s not a psychological discussion, it’s a sociological one.
Now, on to SDT. I have no quibble with the notions that (a) everyone is intrinsically motivated to do SOMETHING, and (b) that external forces can quash that motivation. My grad school work preceded the Deci/Ryan work you cite, by a decade, but there doesn’t seem to be anything in that more recent research which you mention in your article that contradicts anything I personally learned in grad school. Since as you say the research on SDT had been going on for four decades, then quite obviously three decades of it got into the 1990’s textbooks under a different label.
But, here’s the more pertinent matter: What if the “thing” that the individual is intrinsically motivated to do is essentially useless to anyone other than themselves? I might find, for example, that a seventh grade student is fascinated by XYZ, but if XYZ is not part of the curriculum, there’s no benefit in that for the student. The interest they have is not productive in the context of their education. Same thing goes for the adult. If the adult is, for example, a self-declared artist that has no talent, then their work is not productive in an economic or social context.
Thus, the problem statement becomes this:
EVEN IF each human finds that thing which motivates THEM……that doesn’t necessarily translate into a viable and productive society, nor one which is economically viable on into the future.
(I think it was Warren Buffett who said jokingly once that he was very fortunate to be born into an era where his talent (e.g., “intrinsic motivation”) was the reading and analysis of financial reports; and that had he been born into a caveman society where there were no financial reports……he likely would have ended up being eaten by a bear.)
Hope that helps.