Justice, Learning, Marketing and Culture of Civility

One of the top most deliverables for the State is to ensure provision of justice. The concept of injustice is based violation. It happens somebody’s rights are violated or an unjust/ wrong act happens. Many expressions are related to injustice including breach of law, wrongdoing, misconduct, and unrighteousness. The rape in Delhi has lent a loud noise on the issue of injustice to which women in our country are subjected to everyday because of violations of different kinds. Getting the people to behave in the rightful way is a great challenge. This involves preempting the potential transgressions from happening. Ultimately it is about bringing a behavioral change.
In the marketing world, companies succeed by bringing about a behavioral change of their customers. They make people to learn to act in a particular manner. Companies and brands condition their customers to behave in a certain way that their objectives are realized. Take for example when groceries run out we rush to a specific store or we take a detour to locate a brand of our preference. We learn which brand offers the best value and when brands can be switched. Beneath the apparent randomness of our behavior lay a system of learning/thinking that equips us not to commit any kind of behavioral violation or ease hurt would be invited.
If we are oriented not to commit violations in consumption then why are laws violated rampantly? Market is a big learning place/space. Marketers bank upon various learning theories to bring about desired learning in their prospects. These are: classical conditioning, instrumental conditioning, rote learning, vicarious and cognitive learning. One of the important determinants of learning is reinforcement; it increases the likelihood of occurrence of a response. It strengthens the behavior.
Reinforcement is anything that follows a behavior and it may come as a pleasant or unpleasant happening. Consider how brands reinforce their purchase by offering a reward (positive reinforcement) or prevention of something undesirable (negative reinforcement): praise (Gucci), happiness (McDonald’s), confidence (Cinthol), accident saved (Ceat), and prevented body odor (Rexona), avoided theft (Harrison). Another type of reinforcement is punishment (unpleasant consequence after response) which ensures learning that a given behavior is not repeated. We learn not to buy petrol from a filling station (short delivery) or not to go to a shop (poor service).

Where do we learn to avoid law violating conduct or adopt lawful conduct? Unlike marketplace where stimulus-response- reinforcement work in tandem to bring strong learning about what to approach and what to avoid, there exists no workshop for civil conduct. As people begin to spend more time out of home, public spaces can be turned into open schools of learning. The first learning about the acceptance of violation begins with the road usage which later is generalized as an overall attitude toward legal system. If violations on the roads, especially the minor one, are made non-negotiable (reinforce with punishment) it will go a long way in building a culture of righteous conduct.


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