Admit it. We’ve all done it before. Whether it was driving a car, a truck, or even cruisin on your bike- gotten distracted by the new restaurant opening or by the mammoth billboard- and then readjusting your focus to find yourself slamming the breaks. That was close. You almost hit grandpa. Phew, you think, glad you applied the brake on time.
But what if you did hit grandpa or some other pedestrian? What would you do?
I would like to think that for the most of us, our first concern would be the safety of the pedestrian. However, reading this article changed my initial perspective. It’s sickening to think that drivers are willing to kill people for the means to stay economically stable. While many can argue that the individuals themselves are inherently evil in their determination to kill the injured pedestrian, I believe that the problem extends beyond the driver. The intentional act of driving over someone’s body, over and over again extends beyond its frontage. It’s an act done to protect oneself while promptly undermining the value of someone else’s life. It’s in human nature to put yourself above others, prioritizing you before the rest. These accidents were a display of human nature- the immediate tendency for survival. The idea that survival, indirectly defined by Taiwanese and Chinese driving laws, is to kill someone instead of taking responsibility of their accident is innately flawed. The economic incentive competes with the moral and social incentives in this scenario. Drivers are forced to value economic incentives more because they chose to kill the pedestrian despite having to live with the burden of murder. I think it’s more appropriate to inflict higher fees on the act of killing a pedestrian than the act of injuring a pedestrian. Therefore, a broken arm does not equate to killing a person.
On a similar scale we see flawed incentives in our present American society, more specifically we see them affecting all college bound students. High schoolers are expected to have near perfect GPAs and standardized test scores for them to be seen favorably by colleges. The incentive is a chance to go to a better college. However, this puts students under pressure to ace tests and push through high school with many extra curriculars. Many students revert to cheating on tests and go as far as paying people to take tests for them (this is why photo recognition has been implemented now). While the intention might be to look presentable to colleges, the system is bent by students for their better interests.
While it might be easy for us to point fingers at flawed incentives in other parts of the world, we sometimes neglect the broken systems we experience on a daily basis.