MINDSPACE. That's a snappy little title for a report on influencing behaviour through public policy isn't it?
"Messenger: we are heavily influenced by who communicates informationWhen they say 'we', of course they don't mean themselves, they mean 'citizens, actors, stake-holders, the public': they mean 'they'.
Incentives: our responses to incentives are shaped by predictable mental shortcuts such as strongly avoiding losses
Norms: we are strongly influenced by what others do
Defaults: we "go with the flow" of pre-set options
Salience: our attention is drawn to what is novel and seems relevant to us
Priming: our acts are often influenced by sub-conscious cues
Affect: our emotional associations can powerfully shape our actions
Commitments: we seek to be consistent with our public promises, and reciprocate acts
Ego: we act in ways that make us feel better about ourselves"
Look at the man-boy in this explanatory video; he's one of the authors of the report. I can't comment on what he's saying, because the audio has now packed up, but I'm sure it's all very worthy and for the good of the cause.
I've had enough of these wet-behind-the-ears policy wonks being given taxpayers' money so they can devise more and better ways of making us conform to the government's ideal, monochrome, biddable citizen. And this is just one small report amongst hundreds; there are thousands of man-boys like Hallswood working throughout the EU and the UN - this one is just a tiny, tiny cog. So, what does that make us, the people they seek to control? Ants, that's what it makes us. Irrelevant, wrapped up in our little bubbles with plenty of soma to keep us busy; working hard to pay our bills, slightly niggled and discontented without the energy or time to question why.
I've had enough of being shaped and nudged. I've had enough of being told how to behave, what to do, where to go, what to eat, what to drink, what to think, what to say. If you ever think that getting an ID card is a good idea, ask yourself why. If you ever think that the world government's* stance on global warming is right, ask yourself why. If you ever think that you're not getting the representation in Parliament you voted for, ask yourself why. Question and challenge - every time.
*Yes, it's here already in all but name; it's just that we can't see the wood for the trees.
Am I still looking forward to coming home?