Sep 16, 2023

Real people are complex

From an interesting Boston Review forum:

A large body of empirical and experimental work shows that moral and social considerations strongly shape economic and political preferences. These preferences often do not align with standard economic views about self-interest, incentives, and “rationality.” For example, many progressives have been stumped as to why so many of Donald Trump’s voters would take positions that appear to be against their so-called self-interest. Yet, to researchers studying moral psychology, Trumpian narratives on social spending, immigration, trade, and climate change all use a common frame of reciprocity violations that stimulates moral outrage and motivates collective behavior. The typical progressive strategy of appealing to self-interest (cuts in social spending will hurt you, immigration and trade are good for the economy, climate change is bad) is thus doomed to fail because people are not processing these issues in narrow self-interested cost-benefit terms, but rather as issues of moral fairness. Only when progressives begin addressing issues in those terms will they stand a chance of reconnecting with these voters.

Read more here.