We all see aspects of the world that we want to change. How should we go about effectuating these changes? Some of the major approaches to changing the world include the design arts, education, literature, art, science, psychology, politics, economics, morality, and religion. In this discussion we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of the different approaches to changing the world.
One way to look at the problem is along the dimensions of "change options" versus "change preferences". In the change options approach one focuses on designing new options that might spontaneously be adopted thus changing the world for the better. The more common approach seems to be to use politics, economics, and psychology to change people's preferences to effectuate change.
Here is another way to subdivide the problem:
1) motivational or process approaches:
a. This approach aims to change societies/individuals views about what is best for them and what should be important, the hope is that when you change the motivation or view that behavior change will follow on its own
b. This strategy includes information provision, motivational interviewing, lobbying, and exposure techniques. How can we see these methods used in politics?
c. Example of using the arts: Writing to Change the World by Mary Pipher (2006)
"You write in order to change the world, knowing perfectly well that you probably can't, but also knowing that literature is indispensable to the world ... The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way ... people look at reality, then you can change it." --- James Baldwin
2) Outcome approaches:
a. This approach focuses on physical and objective change as the goal and hopes that will real objective change motivation and views will follow.
b. This strategy includes choice architecture, framing effects,context changes, subtle changes in environment to "nudge" people in beneficial directions, Behavioral economics traditionally placed here but can include more process/motivational approaches
c. Example in hiring policy: Pennsylvania hospitals ban the hiring of smokers (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/28/pennsylvania-hospitals-ban-smokers-hiring_n_3517549.html)
3) Behavioral economics
a. While this approach relies mostly on nudges and environmental changes it does include motivational approaches as well.
b. Types of nudges:
i. Eliminate choice (don't hire smokers, or fire them)
ii. Restrict choice (only allow smokers to work under limited conditions)
iii. Stick-type incentives (pay extra if you smoke)
iv. Carrot-type incentives(reward for not smoking)
v. Guide choices through default policy (auto-enroll smokers in smoking cessation programs, have them opt out)
vi. Enable Choice (provide lots of free smoking cessation programs)
vii. Provide information
viii. Do nothing
Suggested reading and/TED talks:
Thinking, Fast and Slow: http://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Fast-Slow-Daniel-Kahneman/dp/0374533555
This topic is a repeat of the one on Sun May 11th.