Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Still not quite there

"Libertarian Paternalism" is an oxymoron (and a cute phrase) but it isn't that hard to understand. Tyler just misses
The "libertarian paternalism" movement (and, for that matter, the non-libertarian paternalist movement) tells us that more choices can make people worse off. Many of these same people also agitate for greater redistribution of wealth to the poor. Have you noticed the resulting tension?
Libertarian Paternalism does not try to restrict choice (which makes it Libertarian), it just tries to take more care in setting the best defaults (which makes it Paternalistic) since empirical evidence demonstrates, time and again, that defaults matter more than predicted by standard micro-models.

I would also point that regular Paternalism has no tension between redistributing wealth and reducing choices because it is very comfortable attaching strings to said redistributed wealth.


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