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Should Public Policy Promote Better Habits?

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond

In other words, neoclassical economics is all wrong.

O.K., that’s an overstatement. But both concerns about the health effects of urban layouts and attempts to deter certain kinds of consumption are basically about the failings of rationality as a model of human behavior. People should get enough exercise – they will, in general, be happier if they do – but they tend not to get exercise if they live in an environment where it’s easy to drive everywhere and not as easy to walk. People should also limit their caloric intake – again, they’ll be happier if they do – but they have a hard time resisting those giant tubs of popcorn.

I can personally attest to the importance of these environmental effects. These days, I walk around with a pedometer on my wrist – hey, I’m 61, and it’s now or never – and it’s obvious just how much more natural it is to get exercise when I’m in New York than when I’m in Princeton, N.J. Choosing to walk just a couple times rather than take the subway fairly easily gets me to 15,000 steps in the city, while even with a morning run it can be hard to break 10,000 in the suburbs. Also, the nanny-state legacy of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, with calories displayed on practically everything in New York, does help curb my vices (greasy breakfast sandwiches!).

See on truth-out.org



Time is real? I think not

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