So the Edge.org submits an annual question to 151 intellectuals, artists and scientists, among others. This year they ask “What game-changing scientific ideas and developments do you expect to live to see?” Many of the answers are interesting. But I want to focus for a moment on a bias among the respondents. The first thing I notice is that many respondents answer that a development within their field of expertise will be the game changer. This is very suspicious and self-serving. (Nevermind that some of these folk need more attention to raise more money for their projects…squeaky wheel gets the oil.)
Why not tie a betting market to this question?
It is often unstated, but nonetheless true, that the fundamental normative claim of behavioral economics is that people should be rational. The guiding aim of every “nudge” is to make neoclassical economics true.The behavioral economic utopia coincides with the neoclassical. Insofar as it seeks to make people better, it makes them better self-interested rational maximizers. What it doesn’t do is aim to make people more generous, compassionate, or industrious, unless, that is, those people already are driven by those values. Nudges are about means, not ends.
Of course, now that every moron on the left grasps onto the theory, they think it supports their values. Thus we arrive at buncombe like this from Andrian Kreye at the Edge.org:
The aim of behavioral economics is to develop mechanisms that can enable what is called “nudging”—the psychological control of the Homo economicus.
No no Herr Kreye–you see, the guiding aim is not psychological control of homo economicus, since the descriptive claim of the theory is that homo economics doesn’t exist. No no, the aim is mould a homo economicus out of homo irrationalis.