Nudge or dodge?
If we ask an average citizen if he or she wants to shift to a more ecologically tinted energy provider, by making a choice and marking it on a form, he or she will respond in 5 to 10% of cases. We can also ask an average citizen if he or she would like to be shifted to a more ecologically tinted energy provider. In this latter case a transfer will happen by default and citizen does not need to do anything about it. By designing the architecture of choice so that the desirable choice is by default, we increase the number of citizens who agree to respond by transfer to 60-70%. This is more or less what Thaler and Sunstein tried to tell us. With behavioral economics, behavioral politics and behavioral everything. With evidence based projects for masters of a liberal universe. For instance, former president Obama. Likewise, baby fresh mega-corporations like Facebook. Not to forget private equity advisors and investment fund managers.
Nudging beats fakes. For instance fakes spread by liberal, neoliberal and left US media. Say, Putin helped Trump to power. Not so. Nudging beats wishful thinking. Say, Newsweek’s cover: “Hilary Clinton Beats Donald Trump”. Not quite. Nudging beats simple deception. Say a Doomsday view of Brexit. If Paris and Berlin do not rule via Brussels, all hell will break loose. Not really. But isn’t a nudging actually a dodging? By designing an architecture of choice, we dodge responsibility and avoid informed choice. Praising inertia by default helps dodge deliberate choices. They should not be dodged. Helps forget about the hard duty of uncertain search for empirical feedback. It should not be forgotten. Isn’t it time to nudge politicians back to responsibility? Populists of the world unite?
January 17, 2019