Behavioral Experiments on Americans
Does this sound strange to you or just does not seem exactly on the up and up?
The Daily Caller is reporting that President Obama announced on Tuesday a new executive order which authorizes federal agencies to conduct behavioral experiments on U.S. Citizens.
The purpose is to “advance government initiatives”.
Advance government initiatives?
It just does not sound right to me.
How do they intend on doing so, well read on.
The executive order states “A growing body of evidence demonstrates that behavioral science insights — research findings from fields such as behavioral economics and psychology about how people make decisions and act on them — can be used to design government policies to better serve the American people.”
A program similar to this was implemented in the U.K. in 2010.
These behavioral experiments come from a University of Chicago economist Richard Thaler and Harvard law school professor Cass Sunstein. Professor Sunstein was the Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Obama administration.
If you do not remember Professor Sunstein once said, "Somewhat more broadly, I will suggest that animals should be permitted to bring suit, with human beings as their representatives, to prevent violations of current law."
These two behavioral scientists argued in their book “Nudge”, published in 2008, that “government policies can be designed in a way that “nudges” citizens towards certain behaviors and choices.”
One problem I see is that these “choices” appear to always advance the goals of our federal government and not necessarily what is good for the people.
According to the article the executive order encourages our federal agencies to “identify policies, programs, and operations where applying behavioral science insights may yield substantial improvements in public welfare, program outcomes, and program cost effectiveness,” as well as to “develop strategies for applying behavioral science insights to programs and, where possible, rigorously test and evaluate the impact of these insights.”
The President instructs agencies to “consider how the presentation and structure of those choices, including the order, number, and arrangement of options, can most effectively promote public welfare.”
Does promoting public welfare equate to encouraging dependence on public welfare programs (government) instead of encouraging self-reliance?
An economist at Utah State University, is quoted in the article saying “Ultimately, nudging…assumes a small group of people in government know better about choices than the individuals making them.”
Does this sound strange to you?
Are you comfortable with our president requesting our government agencies to perform these behavioral experiments on us?
Let’s discuss this today on my show, The Live with Renk show, which airs Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon, to let me know your thoughts at (269) 441-9595.
Or please feel free to start a discussion and write your thoughts in the comment section.