The Rationale of Reward



The greatest happiness of the greatest number ought to be the object of every legislator: for accomplishing his purposes respecting this object, he possesses two instruments---Punishment and Reward. The theories of these two forces divide between them, although in unequal shares, the whole field of legislation.

The subject of the present work is Reward; and not reward alone, but every other use which can be made of that matter of which rewards may be formed.

In the following work, the different sources from which rewards may be derived are examined; the choice which ought to be made between the different modifications of which reward is susceptible, is pointed out; and rules are laid down for the production of the greatest effect with the least portion of this precious matter.

On the one hand, indication is given of the venom, more or less concealed, which is included in the employments which have too commonly been made of it; and an attempt has been made to take sway from others certain imputations which the enthusiasm of virtue has cast upon them.

The limits have been traced between the fields of reward and punishment; the springs of that mechanism developed, whence those laws arise to which the power is attributed of executing themselves, and directions given for that combination of remedies, the sweet with the bitter, whereby so happy a union is produced between interest and duty.

The advantages of a system of remuneratory procedure are pointed out; an idea given of the course it ought to take; and an enumeration made of the uses of the matter of reward which are not remuneratory. The nature and effects of salaries and other official emoluments are inquired into; the nature and degree of the encouragement proper to be afforded to the arts and sciences is discussed; and, finally, the question,---How far it is possible beneficially to apply artificial reward to the encouragement of production and trade, is considered.

[RR, Remarks by Mr. Bentham] [RR, Book I, Chapter I]