This Side of Paradise-F. Scott Fitzgerald
“No, its isn’t silly. It’s quite plausible. If you’d gone to college you’d have been struck by the fact that the men there would work twice s hard for any one of a hundred petty honors as those other men did who were earning their way through.”
“Kids–child’s play!” scoffed his antagonist.
“Not by a darned sight–unless we’re all children. Did you ever see a grown man when he’s trying for a secret society–or a rising family whose name is up at some club? They’ll jump when they hear the sound of the word. The idea that to make a man work you’ve got to hold gold in front of his eyes is a growth, not an axiom. We’ve done that for so long that we’ve forgotten there’s any other way. We’ve made a world where that’s necessary. Let me tell you”–Amory became empathic–“if there were ten men insured against either wealth or starvation, and offered a green ribbon for five hours’ work a day and a blue ribbon for ten hours’ work a day, nine out of ten of them would be trying for the blue ribbon. That competitive instinct only wants a badge. If the side of their house is the badge they’ll sweat their heads off for that. If it’s only a blue ribbon, I damn near believe they’ll work just as hard. They have in other ages.”
“I don’t agree with you.”
“I know it,” said Amory nodding sadly. “It doesn’t matter any more though. I think these people are going to come and take what they want pretty soon.”(312)