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From where does the metaphor of "carrots" and "sticks" originate, and what does it usually refer to?

While the idiom frequently sees popular usage, many disagree on it's actual meaning. When you use or hear things referred to as "carrots" and "sticks", how do you interpret the metaphor?

4 Answers

  • Beardo
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The image is usually of trying to get a donkey, or other work animal to move.

    The carrots are rewards and the sticks are punishments.

  • 1 decade ago

    " "Carrot and stick" (also spelled "carrot-and-stick") is an idiom used to refer to the act of rewarding good behavior and punishing bad behavior. The carrot represents the edible reward, while the stick refers to a punishing switch. The earliest citation of this expression recorded by the Supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary is to The Economist magazine in the December 11, 1948, issue. The Supplement also depicts a person trying to entice a donkey to move by dangling a carrot in front of it."

    " "carrot-and-stick" : Combining a promised reward with a threatened penalty: took a carrot-and-stick approach to the rehabilitation of juvenile offenders."

    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition :

  • 1 decade ago

    Forcing an animal to move, I've always assumed-- as in, the stick is what pokes it from behind (the force), whereas the carrot is the incentive for moving forward (the reward).

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Yes, you are correct, when anti-semites speak about jews, they are referring almost exclusively to Ashkenazi Jews. The reason for this might be that Ashkenazi jews make up the vast majority of jews living outside Israel (and hence, interacting with non-jews). In America, where I live, most jews (I don't know the percentage, but I'd guess 85%) are Ashkenazi, and that percentage skyrockets upwards if you are talking about influential or famous jews. I guess the answer has to be that there are alot of influential/famous Ashknazi jews, and not too many influential/famous non-Ashkenazi jews, and since our numbers are so few (.02% of the world's population), the average person who might not know any jews personally, but sees alot of influential Ashkenazi jews on tv, in print, in government, etc, they might just think all jews are Ashkenazi.

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