Monday, May 25, 2009

The self-deprecation of the Irish

Talking to Kim Hill about the rapid contraction of the Irish economy, writer, Fintan O'Toole quipped,
"The rest of the world says, 'Things are serious, but they are not desperate yet'. Here we say, 'Things are desperate, but they are not serious yet.'"

I went looking for the interview and also noticed this earlier one; Richard Thaler: libertarian paternalism.

This encompasses ideas like enrolling everybody in schemes but allowing them to opt out. So state decides what is best for you (paternalism) but can't force you to comply (libertarianism). Or state decides what is bad for you and uses every measure it can (stopping short of banning) to make you less likely to do it. It's all about 'nudging' people to make the right choices.

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