5 thoughts on “Why I have reservations about the “Nudge” philosophy”

  1. Posted 09/03/2010 at 11:24 | Permalink

    The ‘philosophy’ still seems to be: ‘The gentleman in Whitehall really does know better …’. The argument is over how to get people to do what the politicians want.

    I still think Mises hit on the essential point: if the public at large is really so feckless that people can’t be trusted to look after their own lives, why bother to allow them to vote? Especially when, a la EU, if they vote the ‘wrong’ way, you just tell them to have another go until they get it right. (Assuming that, unlike the Labour party, when you promise to allow a referendum in your election manifesto, you keep your promise.)

    No wonder we don’t trust politicians!

  2. Posted 09/03/2010 at 18:21 | Permalink

    Spot on, Philip. The very interesting field of behavioural economics is being mined to provide yet more reasons for government interference. The same has been attempted with the “happiness” literature.

  3. Posted 09/03/2010 at 19:02 | Permalink

    **** nudging, just represent us.

    Look, we now need to be moving towards attacking the conservative party for being an anti-free market party instead of trying to find common ground.

  4. Posted 09/03/2010 at 19:44 | Permalink

    The problem with their idea of ‘libertarian paternalism’ is that they refuse to define it, which is absolutely bizarre bearing in mind the huge literature on both concepts. Of course, this virtue of no definition is that no one is offended and the idea can be taken up by anyone.

    Philip is right that the real issue is who does the nudging and why.

  5. Posted 09/03/2010 at 21:57 | Permalink

    I now realise that Cameron was quoting from the same California studies that are quoted in the NBER Digest. At best, it produces a small change in behaviour.

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