Nudge, nudge – no, no

Nudge, nudge no, no – In only two years plenty of bossy-boots in office have leapt upon a new method of manipulating us.

To be nudged repeatedly gives you bruised ribs. It is only two years since two Chicago academics published a book called Nudge, but in that time plenty of bossy-boots in office have leapt upon a new method of manipulating us. Just as supermarkets rig queues to make us work their check-outs for them, via machines that shout instructions about the “bagging area”, so politicians, acting as our masters, delight in nagging us into health and duty.

Cigarette pack health warnings 'could encourage people to keep smoking'
Death-related warnings may actually encourage smokers to keep up their habit

It is social sat-nav, forever telling us to do a U-turn. Cigarette packets bear disgusting pictures, the price of drink is raised, unsolicited swimming-vouchers arrive in the post. In Scotland, the obesity minister even wants to hide sweeties in shops. Now a Cambridge academic has demonstrated that nudging doesn’t work. There are too many counter-nudges from the other side, like a tempter at the other ear. Nudge, nudge? Say: no more. ( )

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