Food for Thought with Erik W. Matson: Problems with Paternalism


  • 03/06/2024
    12:30 - 14:00
Drawing from his recent book with The Institute for Economic Affairs, New Paternalism Meets Older Wisdom, Erik W. Matson will survey and critically assess recent waves of behavioural paternalism. This new paternalism has motivated similar kinds of regulations across the developed world on, for example, sugar, tobacco, and alcohol consumption. The discussion will draw out some key philosophical and practical challenges to paternalism, settling around the difficult question, “what do people really want?”. Taking this question seriously, Matson argues, should encourage policy makers to focus less on guiding the outcomes of choice and more on facilitating a healthy civil society in which people are free and encouraged to pursue and develop their interests in dialogue with their communities.


Erik W. Matson is a Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center, Deputy Director of the Adam Smith Program at George Mason University, and Lecturer in Political Economy in the Busch School of Business at The Catholic University of America.

Doors open at 12:30. The main event starts at 13:00.

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