Behavioral Economics and Irrational Voters

Submitting a VoteJulian Adorney writes in today’s Mises Daily: 

 If consumers are as irrational as Ariely argues, they’re likely to pick politicians who don’t represent their best interests or don’t have coherent ideas. Why would we trust such men and women to run our lives?

Knowing that electoral politics brings to office not the best and brightest but merely the best at appealing to irrational voters, shouldn’t we want to restrict their power? Shouldn’t we trust them with less influence over our lives, not more?

The insights of behavior economics create what is essentially a Catch-22 for statists who attempt to use it. If Ariely’s definition of rationality is wrong and the Austrians are right, then it is impossible to plan an economy and obtain efficient results from government policy. On the other hand, if behavioral economics is right, then social democracy can be shown to be the product of an irrational political system.

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