Polity by Rob Salmond

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Polity: Behavioural economics and Hekia Parata

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  • James Littlewood*, in reply to Adam H,

    All economics is behavioural

    Yeah, sure. Qualitative brand consultants have been teaching you to drink your beer with the label facing outwards for decades. But that's the purview of psychologists in ad land. Economists have always been like "ugh, irrational purchase behaviour. We can tolerate it through this quantum ..."

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Rivers,

    A couple of issues about nudge unit in the UK is that it is privatised and that it is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Therein lie some big problems. as described in this Guardian article

    While the simpler implementations of nudge (behavioural modification)- the locations of toilets and refreshments in venues, opt-out rather than opt-in on organ donations, or road markings that support slowing on corners - implement ideas that are broadly supportive of the public good without a declared programme of work, openness and consultation there are potentially sinister ideas that could easily be developed.

    Firstly because of the UK FOI secrecy the nudge unit may already be operating contracts in NZ - we would be unlikely to know - and officials would presumably be bound to cite commercial confidentiality in relation to any OIA questions.

    Second there is nothing to stop political parties from hiring the nudge unit to carry out initiatives that manipulate populations without their knowledge in areas that have nothing to do with public good policy implementation.

    Let's not forget we already have in the public sector a behavioural modification scheme in use with more than 10,000 staff (through another company) that equates blue with positive behaviour and green and red with passive and angry behaviour respectively. See this by Jane Bowron

    Secret "nudge" initiatives are anathema to democracy. Citizens are not a laboratory for secret policy experiments and should not have to second guess what programmes we are being nudged (manipulated) by.

    Since Apr 2011 • 18 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Jan Rivers,

    Citizens are not a laboratory for secret policy experiments and should not have to second guess what programmes we are being nudged

    And Ms Parata would like us to believe she is using a carrot not a stick and will use shape her language thus, just like our arsehole PM and the collection of Nact fuckwits who are subjecting this country to a social experiment, but don't even know they are doing it!
    Even if they did they would never own up to it. Behind all the bluster they know fuck all! And they have any quiescent number of the population fooled.
    Lets have a beer m8 and watch the rugby is wearing pretty thin right about now.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari, in reply to Adam H,

    Repeat after me: “economics is a social science”.

    this... so much this

    and as a social science it is but one... yet it is the only one politicians seem to care about, more fool them... and poor us

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 537 posts Report Reply

  • Howard Edwards, in reply to Adam H,

    I guess what leaves me most frustrated with the economics profession are the ones like Friedman who seem to think that using Greek notation is an excuse to behave like a sociopath. Look what it did to Thatcher:

    Hey - I rho-epsilon-sigma-epsilon-nu-tau that!

    Albany • Since Apr 2013 • 66 posts Report Reply

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