Glenn Beck does not like Nudges

No, seriously. He (and the guest on his show in this clip) aren’t on board with the choice architecture molding of the nudge.

There’s just one problem: nudges are always there. As Cass Sunstein describes in his book Simpler: The Future of Government:

[…] choices are made against a background, created by public and private institutions. Nudges are everywhere, whether we see them or not.

[…] Choice architecture is the social environment against which we make our decisions. It is not possible to dispense with social environment, and hence choice architecture is an inevitable (though often invisible) part of our lives. A bookstore has a choice architecture (which books do you see first?); so does a website that sells books (how big are the onscreen covers?). Choice architecture can be found when we turn on a computer; when we enter a restaurant, a hospital, or a grocery store; when we select a mortgage, a car, a health care plan, or a credit card; when we visit our favorite websites; and when we apply for a driver’s license or a building permit or Social Security benefits. For all of us, a key question is whether the relevant choice architecture is helpful and simple or harmful, complex, and exploitative. Good nudges improve choice architecture.

In other words, every decision involves some framing. A nudge merely reconfigures the frame while preserving the freedom to choose. Glenn Beck thinks it’s unfair to assume people can’t make decisions for themselves. But psychology and decision making research suggests that for most decisions we face, people opt for what is easy over what they really want/need. Why not make the easy options better ones?


One comment

  1. […] Glenn Beck, Richard Williams does not like nudges. […]

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