The current global recession has, judging from responses to this month's column, many origins, among them housing and credit. All, of course, are traceable to human responses to both perceived opportunities and calamities, which in turn have been engineered by other humans. Given this, one might conclude that efforts to influence human decisions through "nudging" might be effective. However, respondents were far from unanimous in drawing this conclusion.
Adnan Younis Lodhi initiated the debate by saying "... the suggestion to limit 'temptation' (through "nudging" strategies—my insert) is an insult to individuals' intellect and tempering with human nature.... Only pain is the best teacher." Others agreed. Charlie Cullinane admonished, "Let the 'invisible hand' do what it does best!" Sondra Jacobson said, "No one knows what is best for another ... we have no choice but to let things be as they will, no matter how ludicrous and painful, until the understanding becomes knowledge." Tom Dolembo put it this way: "Nudge this back? Never ... As dumb as we are, we the people have learned that we can refuse to buy and prices will fall." P. Maxson asked, "Who gets to decide what the 'right' choices are?"
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Can Housing and Credit be "Nudged" Back to Health?
What do you think?