Government Paternalism: Nanny State or Helpful Friend? by Julian Le Grand and Bill New

By Julian Le Grand and Bill New

Should still governments retailer humans from themselves? Do governments have the fitting to steer voters’ habit with regards to smoking tobacco, consuming an excessive amount of, no longer saving adequate, consuming alcohol, or taking marijuana—or does this create a nanny kingdom, resulting in infantilization, demotivation, and breaches in person autonomy? taking a look at examples from each side of the Atlantic and world wide, govt Paternalism examines the excuses for, and the superiority of, govt involvement and considers whilst intervention may perhaps or may not be appropriate. construction on advancements in philosophy, behavioral economics, and psychology, Julian Le Grand and invoice New discover the jobs, limitations, and obligations of the govt and its citizens.

Le Grand and New examine particular coverage components, together with smoking, saving for pensions, and assisted suicide. They talk about criminal regulations on dicy habit, taxation of damaging actions, and subsidies for necessary actions. and so they pay specific consciousness to “nudge” or libertarian paternalist proposals that try and switch the context during which participants make judgements so they make the appropriate ones. Le Grand and New argue that folks usually show “reasoning failure”: an lack of ability to accomplish the ends that they set themselves. Such situations are perfect for paternalistic interventions—for although such interventions may perhaps impinge on autonomy, the influence might be outweighed via an development in healthiness.

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Sample text

Paternalistic interventions are not concerned with protecting one individual from another, nor with helping people to achieve collectively what they cannot achieve individually, nor with ensuring that people have an adequate level of income. But such distinctions are not always obvious in practice. Those who oppose paternalism but who nonetheless are sympathetic to government intervention in key areas of society and the economy are able to cite a range of competing justifications that offer less controversial rationales for intervention, such as the harm principle, market failure, or the promotion of equity and social justice.

Our goal here is simply to provide a definition of government paternalism that will serve as a basis for our subsequent discussion. The intention to promote the individual’s own good must remain an integral part of the definition, but it is now that good as defined by the government, not necessarily as defined by the individual. Of course, the government may accept the individual’s own conception of his good as that which ought to be promoted; indeed, later we argue that it should do precisely that, and that its paternalistic interventions should be confined to substituting its judgment for the individual’s only both where there has been a failure of the means by which the individual tries to achieve his perception of the good, and where the government could do better.

The principal ones include the provision of information, the imposition of legal restrictions, the imposition of taxation or other forms of negative financial incentives, the provision of subsidies or other forms of positive financial incentives, and, in an important development, types of government intervention arising from what has been termed libertarian paternalism or nudging, including changes in the context in which people make decisions or the architecture of choice. In chapter 2 we argued that the simple provision of information is not a form of paternalism.

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