Gamification of things? Good or manipulative?
Not entirely sure this should be here but I was thinking about saving money this morning. In the recent part of history, the general populace getting into debts that are way over their heads has been a problem on arguably a much wider scale than at any point in history. There's also been a lot of talk about the increasing "gamification" of things - providing incentives for people to exhibit certain behaviours or desired trends.
So, I thought, I'm not bad at saving money and not spending it on stuff I honestly don't need... However, there are a lot of people out there (apparently) who are unable to spend thoughtfully - and i'm not just talking about keeping within their means so let's not bring the whole "no debt vs debt is good" debate in here, please. - so is it possible to gamify actual saving habits?
On the one hand, i think it's very possible. Just imagine your online banking account - you open it up and find that your "score" has increased because you managed your finances better than the same month last year or got an achievement for managing to save more than the last month (maybe through transferring funds to your savings account etc.). On the other hand, it's incredibly manipulative and the ethics of such a programme might be quire questionable - because someone, somewhere, would be "pulling the strings" on a lot of people's behaviours. This could give the banks even more power over economies than they already have with respect to lending and whatnot. Just imagine that the Superbowl is coming up and they offer points or achievements for spending on Superbowl paraphernalia - or they could even cripple the amount of money spent on the Superbowl and its associated links to other businesses by offering competing achievements or reigning in spending by prioritising saving for that month.
The other thing, i realised when thinking about this is that the credit industry has been gamifying their practices for a long time now. The "easy credit" thing was intricately an obtuse game. You were able to increase your 'score' (either money or property) with encouragement of 'achievements' like getting a higher credit score etc.. Some of the things that the banks have been doing over these last 2 decades (and i'm not limiting it to that, just in the context of the present economic difficulties) have been highly unethical so is it best just to steer clear of this type of manipulation or should it be harnessed into something that could be good instead of basically being guaranteed to be bad?