¿Dulce o travesura?

OXFORD - Una nueva manera de pensar sobre la elección individual se ha apoderado del paisaje político por asalto. El nuevo presidente de Estados Unidos, Barack Obama, y el líder de los conservadores británicos, David Cameron (sólo parar mencionar un par de nombres), han demostrado interés en ella. Su linaje intelectual y académico es impecable. Se dice que es efectiva, basada en evidencia y de implementación económica. Principalmente, se adjudica un grado de coherencia filosófica con el que las diversas ampquot;terceras víasampquot; de la última década sólo podrían soñar.

La idea novedosa, elucidada en el libro Un pequeño empujón ( Nudge ) de Cass Sunstein y Richard Thaler, es que el hecho de controlar con destreza la manera en que nos presentan las alternativas puede estimularnos a hacer las elecciones que haría nuestro ampquot;mejor yoampquot;. ampquot;Paternalistas libertariosampquot; como Sunstein y Thaler sostienen que tenemos dos maneras diferentes de tomar decisiones: una ampquot;visceralampquot; (llamada Sistema I) y la otra más deliberada y mucho más efectiva (llamada Sistema II).

Pero, si bien las elecciones del Sistema II pueden ser más efectivas que las decisiones del Sistema I, son mucho más ampquot;costosasampquot;: uno necesita datos, análisis y concentración. Recién cuando la importancia de la tarea garantiza el esfuerzo cambiamos de marcha y desplegamos la artillería pesada del Sistema II. Esta división del trabajo entre los mecanismos del Sistema I y del Sistema II funcionaría bien si no fuera por el hecho de que nuestra modalidad perezosa y barata de tomar decisiones tiende a preponderar en situaciones que deberían exigir nuestra plena atención: elegir un plan de pensión o de salud, por ejemplo. Como es de imaginarse, los resultados de este golpe de estado del Sistema I no son agradables.

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