This is a scientised version of original sin. And its eager adoption by today’s governments threatens social consequences that many might find troubling. A culture that believes its citizens are not reliably competent thinkers will treat those citizens differently to one that respects their reflective autonomy. Which kind of culture do we want to be? And we do have a choice. Because it turns out that the modern vision of compromised rationality is more open to challenge than many of its followers accept…
That, in a nutshell, is the problem of the practical application of behavioural economics to modern governance, in the form of nudge politics. Kahan argues against what he calls the ‘public irrationality thesis’: the idea that ordinary citizens act irrationally most of the time. He thinks this thesis is ungrounded, but the liberal-paternalist architects of nudge policy simply assume it – in, so they claim, our best interests.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Should Government Be Telling Us What To Do, Or Even "Nudging" Us In A Certain Direction?
Liberals do love their paternalism and compulsion, don't they?