Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein has a simple premise. Unlike classical economic theory, where people are fully rational and always do things in their best interest, we are really lazy, uninformed, and unmotivated. We make bad decision because we lack information, or space out, or are too stupid to investigate what descisions will make our lives better.
Intuitively, this view appeals to me. One example: create online retirement forms with a default setting which generally benefit employees, rather than no setting at all. Most people don't really understand their retirement plans, if they even have one. So make their laziness work for them.
Of course, the “Libertarian Paternalism” proposed in this work is problematic. Who makes the choices that we get to choose from? Can’t "they" rig the system for their benefit and not ours?
Despite this, I think the author’s view of human nature is sound, and can lead to more intelligent discussions about what we, as a species and individuals in that species, can hope to accomplish.
- Paperback: 312 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Updated edition (24 February 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780143115267
- ISBN-13: 978-0143115267
- ASIN: 014311526X
- Product Dimensions:: 14 x 2.1 x 21.3 cm
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