T Nation

The Nudge Squad


On Tuesday, Fox News obtained documents showing that the federal government is initiating a program designed to â??nudgeâ?? Americans toward particular behaviors.

The â??Behavioral Insights Teamâ?? to be formed would work with the White House, as well as the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture, among others. The document, emailed by White House senior adviser on social and behavioral sciences Maya Shenker to a university professor, states, â??Behavioral sciences can be used to help design public policies that work better, cost less, and help people achieve their goals.â??

Anyone here need to be nudged ?


Naw, but most people need a nudge not to look disgusting....I'm in retail and most Americans
just don't look healthy and happy nowadays....there's a tangible, undeniable joylessness with people I surely
haven't seen in my lifetime, and they are transferring this attitude to their kids...I'm witness to this
almost every day.
They are almost always in a hurry, easily distracted, and their smartphones they're on all the time are practically
a biological appendage on the end of their arms...they're Zombies now, so they're totally ripe and ready for this 'nudging'
whatever it is, and they will submit to it knowingly or unknowingly hook, line and sinker.

Perfect timing administration...perfect timing.


So what's exactly wrong with this? Serious question because you're being nudged in one direction or the other all the time. If they nudge you into eating less shit food so you're not as fat then that might be worth it.

I see nudging as things like telling the population that 90% of their peers pay their taxes by April 15th. There's studies out there that show that if people are guided like that they are more likely to also act in that way. Social economists deal with this stuff all the time. It's like when someone seeds the tip jar. This is no different that what any other corporation does.



I don't trust my government, or some random sociologist to tell me what is right for me.

They dont' live my life, and they, and I know this comes as a shock to them, don't know what is best for me. I do.


This country's founding happened because people in Europe got tired of being nudged.




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I totally get that. From a practical standpoint what do you think this means? I think they are just going to encourage people to act a certain way. But they do that already with things like the anti-smoking campaign and the food pyramid. I take this to mean that they are simply going to start using what behavioral scientists tell us about human behavior and using that to help shape some of their messages.

You're naive (and I know you're really not) if you think that "some behavioral sociologist" is not already telling you what is right for you. This happens all the time. Hell, I use some of these same concepts in my work when I'm trying to influence people. I would venture to guess that all of us do.



You're just now figuring that out? We don't have a representational democracy anymore than we have capitalism.


I think you're misinterpreting what nudge means.

Look, I'm not for the government creating laws to tell us what to do. But if they can use actual science and research to shape anti-obesity campaigns which work rather than banning soda then I'm OK with that.



My objection really boils down to:

What about our federal government and its actions over the last, say 100 years, makes you think they will stop there?


And that's a fair objection. Let me ask, what do you think this actually means from a practical perspective?



And I'm interested in hearing more about what I think because I think you've misinterpreted everything I've ever written.



Nudge = mild coercion

The first act is always mild. It gets progressively worse.


I'm blatantly having a hard time separating my practical thinking on this from my wild conspiracy, McCarthyism thinking on this.

IN the beginning, in its infancy, I think it relatively nothing. The people this will have a significant effect on behavior, would have been effected by a fart in church. The independently willed people will likely function on as if there was no program.

Then I start thinking about what this program means for my grandkids and great grandkids, and I'm reading 'Brave New World" so my imagination goes wild and I really start sounding like a loon... (This is why I avoid Alex Jones and Ventura... I'm very susceptible to that kind of thing because I find it hard to believe large swaths of people are really as dumb as it seems...)


I typically agree with this sentiment. It's certainly how I feel about using drones here or about gun control. But I don't see this in the same league.

Maybe it's not the government's place to tell people not to smoke or how to eat. But they are doing it anyway and there's nothing we're going to do to stop that. And maybe that's not such a bad thing. The point that I see of this "nudge squad" would be to use actual science to back up their campaigns which makes sense to me. If they are going to spend the money on it then it might as well work.

Conversely, I can see how this could potentially go bad. If we start "nudging" people to vote a particular way then this would obviously be a bad thing. Maybe I'm being to pollyanna-ish but I just don't see the government having the ability to do that. I don't think the government is that organized.



It's rife with the ability to be abused, no. 1.

This is basically psyops by the USA government on its people.

You may like it because, currently, you agree with the Obama Regime and want that agenda pushed no matter how. Well, one day, the Obama Regime will be replaced with something that may not please you. Indeed, I guarantee it will be.


You don't know me from Adam. How do you know whether or not I agree with Obama? You are jumping to way too many conclusions based on one post.

No, I don't agree with much of what the current administration does. Nor did I agree with much of what the Bush administration did. So I guarantee that the next administration will be replaced with one that doesn't please me. Because none of them do.

My point is that I don't think this as bad as people are making it out to be. I also think it's a red herring. When all people do is throw shit out there that they don't like it takes away focus from the real issues.





I stopped reading as soon as I saw the words "Fox News".