Today’s independent has an interesting article covering David Cameron’s latest theory on how to improve the nation’s health and apparently wealth.  It involves nudge theory or as the authors of the book nudge would have us understand it libertarian paternalism.

Libertarians believe it’s OK to have an orgy as long as they are invited.

Paternalists won’t let anybody go to the orgy because it’s probably not good for you.

Where it becomes interesting is that the government has to find a way of to get us to do what they want us to, but because half the Tories hate the idea of a nanny state more than a communist state they cannot actually tell us what to do.  Nudge theory suggests that we can be persuaded with small pushes in the desired direction without really noticing we are being manipulated to do as the great and good desire.

Quite how the coalition government is going to nudge the hundreds of thousands of soon to be unemployed into nonexistent work will be a trick worth seeing.  Their tactics up to date have been more in the mode of shovelling not nudging their ideology down our throats using the economic climate as a very inadequate smokescreen.

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