诡计还是招待

牛津-对个人选择的新思考方法已经以风暴之势席卷了政治领域。美国新总统巴拉克·奥巴马和英国保守党领袖大卫·卡梅隆(仅仅只提这几个名字)已经对此表示出了兴趣。这种新思考方法的学术和理论基础无懈可击。据说,它很有效,有证据作为基础并且实施起来所付出的代价很小。最重要的是,它声称具有过去十年中各种各样的“第三条道路”思潮只能梦想的一定程度上的哲学连贯性。

这个在凯斯·桑斯坦(Cass Sunstein)和理查德·萨勒(Richard Thaler)的著作《推动》( Nudge) 中阐明的新颖观点是,巧妙地控制选择呈现在我们面前的方式,可以“推动”我们作出 “更好的自我”会作出的选择。像桑斯坦和萨勒这样的“自由家长主义者”(Libertarian paternalists)声称,我们有两种不同的决策方法:一种是“直截了当”(被称为方法I)的方法,另一种是更加慎重并且更加有效的方法(被称为方法II)。

但是,虽然方法II作出的选择比方法I作出的选择更为有效,但是,作出这样的选择更为“昂贵”:人们需要数据、分析以及专注来作出这样的选择。只有当任务的重要性使这样的努力成为必要时,我们才改变方法,部署方法II的重型火炮。这种对方法I和方法II机制之间所作的劳动区分,如果没有我们懒惰并且便宜的决策方式倾向于在要求我们全力关注的情况下——例如,选择一个养老金计划或者卫生保健计划——会占优势这样的事实,会运行良好。像人们可以想象的那样,方法I的这种 政变 的结果并不美妙。

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