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    These issues have received considerable attention since the 1990s. One of the most important contributions has been the concept of the intervention ladder, developed by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics. There’s an explanation and further references at The King’s Fund (London) has also issued at least one paper about these issues. The whole concept of ‘nudge’ theory (e.g., the book by Thaler & Sunstein) is an attempt to make government interventions more palatable to those who tend to be instinctively opposed to what used to be called ‘social engineering’. This has taken off in a big way in Britian, where the Cabinet Office now has a ‘nudge unit’ (formally, the Behavioural Insight Team. The influence of their work on approaches to public health in Britain is a subject about which I hope to write more in the near future.

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    old epictetus

    So far there is little or no (?) evidence that nudge works. The legitimate interventions that governments may make surely lie on a hierarchy from essential to not sure. We must all drive on the same side of the road or mayhem will result, so nanny MUST legislate. But the war on drugs has been, and continues to be counterproductive and wasteful, so we should change our nannying to an approach similar to that for tobacco and alcohol, if our governments paid any attention to reasons and evidence, which sadly they do not always do. The fact that the tobacco industry is so vociferous suggests that plain packaging will hurt them and they do not want it. So i do.

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    Ben Harris-Roxas

    @old epictetus – I’m open to the idea that Nudge doesn’t work but what’s the evidence that it doesn’t? Is it just a matter that it hasn’t been robustly evaluated/researched? Genuine query, I’m not baiting.

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    As a smoker myself I wish they would just ban them altogether.

    However, (note sarcasm) it my right as an Australian, to, cause my own death and suffering, pay rich tobacco companies for the privilege, and to be influence by these self same tobacco companies who have only got their own interests at heart.

    I mean nanny state, are you kidding. Basically, tobacco companies goal’s are to make profits from killing people. That they are allowed to advertise such disgraceful nonsense show’s just how non-nanny state we are.

  5. 5

    Fran Barlow

    There’s an article in the Murdoch Press that will give you the worst attack of hives ever by an academic from U-Wollongong called Greg Melleuish.

    It’s all one big slippery slope from 1970s wowserism, Green social engineering, eugenics, N@zi animal lovers colliding with the desire of authentic fgolks and other bogans to indulge their passion for self-abuse.

    Only if your supply of anti-histamines is ample …


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