And its implications for NYC public policy.
I have two main issues with the “nudging paternalism” approach to politics. The first is that the government has no special,privileged epistemological perch from which they make their decisions so while they seem to be right on the science and substance of the matter this time they’re often wrong. In fact, since government decisions are often pressured by this or that competing lobby, their pronouncements are often far from reason untinctured by interest AND these interests are often veiled to the average voter. Also, there’s a very slippery slope that that leads from an avuncular admonishment here and a light dose of didacticism there to something more heavy handed. Finally, theses programs, as I point out in my own piece on Bloomberg recently, have a tendency to be too condescending for me to really get behind. These schoolmarmish passes at omniscience creep me out, especially all the subtextual double speak, and creepiness should count against a government program.
Are you really going to go all in against “nudging paternalism”? Might as well quote the Devil’s Advocate: “The worse vice is advice.” At the end of the day this “nudging paternalism” is just unsolicitied advice. Seems you are just “rebranding” peer pressure (which isn’t suprising seeing as how Cass Sustein as a lawyer is professionally interested in giving advice about structuring advice).
Take it or leave it… on the one hand your article last time was met with the reproach that you were selling Similac. (plausible). You are simply repackaging freedom, as opposed to the service economy, advice and service onslaught. Anyone who put themselves on a do not call list…agrees with you.
“In fact, since government decisions are often pressured by this or that competing lobby” (true), their pronouncements are often far from reason untinctured by interest AND these interests are often veiled to the average voter.(quite possible).
But in admitting that don’t you embrace this sentiment: “as I point out in my own piece on Bloomberg recently, have a tendency to be too condescending for me to really get behind.”
Is there anything condescending about suggesting that Doctors should give advice to patients?
It is america, no matter how well the schools do in educating the public, the larger share of education comes from advice marketing/services. Various forms of nudging paternalism might be all there is to America itself. 3/4 of american education (made up statistic warning) is being a sophisticated consumer.
“The first is that the government has no special,privileged epistemological perch from which they make their decisions so while they seem to be right on the science and substance of the matter this time they’re often wrong”
But they do! Your first point is probably wrong. The government almost always has a priviledged epistemological perch (not an infallible one, not a purely disintered one, or one that is necessarily scalable or relevent to the needs of an individual, and not one that is on par with a sophisticated expert in the field, but in some sense the dialectical war between competing lobby’s where experts are brought in and cross examined is impressive…) On any given question where it really overspends and invests in information which would more or less be useless(given opportunity costs and economies of scale of learning) for any particular citizen, on that narrow question… it sort of does have a priviledged epistemological perch…in the same way that the library of congress has a priviledged espitemological perch on Joe from the street. (He himself taps into it, or wikipedia(which is probably an inferior source), unless we are speaking in terms of Joe’s portable functionality) from a smart phone on the street). (The priveledged epistemological perch is always subject to economies of scale and opportunity cost.)
The strong argument is simply that if you don’t know your own interest, none of the advice will be worth anything. The objection to the priveledged epistemological perch doesn’t seem valid, the objection to its relevance does, but this is known apriori, since the “science” behind this stuff is statistics not individual subjectivity, or narrowly tailored client centered advice. (The clients that create this sort of policy(fight for and against it) are really institutions.
If it was a question worth asking on a health insurance screening form maybe an actuary would give you a $1.50 discount on health insurance as a result of circumcision.
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