Express Exchange Engage
It is fascinating to see the convergence between behavioural economics and government policy making. The difficult question, however, is whether this is philosophy is consistent with Gov 2.0?
The messages seem mixed. On the one hand we have Empowering consumers using behavioural insights and on the other we have MINDSPACE: Influencing behaviour through public policy.
In many respects there is nothing new in governments seeking to influence the behaviour of citizens. However, it is a trend that is growing and, taken to an extreme, could quite easily result in a form of 'civil totalitarianism'. Nice place to live, but don't step out of line.
Philosophically, this approach is at odds with Gov 2.0 and the emphasis on enhanced democracy. One also has to be circumspect about the ramifications of this behavioural approach for public administration.
I think the verdict is still out on the application of this methodology and I find myself questioning the ethics of the approach.
From a pragmatic perspective we also need to ask ourselves whether citizens will put up with it.
A more open approach coupled with the wise use of social media would seem a more prudent approach. Having elite 'nudge units' is, I believe, fraught with danger.