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Subject:  Re: Here's your chance: Balance the Fed budget Date:  1/9/2007  3:49 PM
Author:  Dwdonhoff Number:  200686 of 603829

Hi jcradd,

It is the whole basis of your argument, as best I can understand it. The way I interpret what you said below is essentially that the general public isn't rational enough to make the right decision on their own, so it's in everyone's best interest if you manipulate them into doing so:

No... let's go back to my initial (general) presentation of the many behavioural studies that found that people will overwhelmingly 'assign' their perception of 'real value' according to factors OTHER than the internal features of the offering (the example of generic green beans on differing vertical shelf levels.)

By empirical observation, we have no alternative but to accept AS OBESERVABLE, EVIDENCIARY FACT that the PRIMARY decision factor for the MAJORITY of people, the MAJORITY of the time, is irrational and emotional at some primary level. This is NOT to say that this MUST ALWAYS be the case, nor that all people CANNOT be rational from time to time. NOR does this say that it is logically PREFERRABLE to be irrational in any way. HOWEVER... the human social and behavioural realities are merely what they are, and once this is known, it is unethical to ignore them going forward.

Further, by empirical observation and analysis (as documented in the book I mentioned, "Influence" by Robert Cialdini, as an example,) there are established and reproduceable decision patterns that can be addressed in the delivery of information about an offering which will have a consistent and observable effect on the discretionary decision to act.

These patterns can be used economically for the better of the whole, or for the worse (or, of course, for some middle ground.) Further, these patterns are occuring regardless of intent... if you are socially healthy and adaptive in the standard human society, you have virtually no room to consistently escape the behavioural processes (and remain within social acceptance.)

Given this knowledge, when an offerer of anything has an ethical and sincere belief that the acceptance of an offer would be to the acceptor's advantage (be it a consumer product or service, a parental guidance, a mentorship or teaching, or a political process, etc.,) THEN if the offeror REFUSED to address the known behavioural aspects of the market she is offering to, such willful avoidance ITSELF would be unethical.

An offeror has an ETHICAL OBLIGATION to deliver the information about their offer in the MOST EFFECTIVE manner, within the concurrent restraints of ther ethical behaviour expectations. EFFECTIVE is defined by the results of the offer itself.

There is no issue of "the ends" justifying anything regarding the offer... but rather, the issue is the awareness and address of the known realities, and the ethical intent.

In brief; Ignoring human inescapable tendencies to voluntarily decide via predicable yet irrational patterns is unethical.

YOU ARE CERTAINLY CORRECT when you say that many resources are wasted in creating artifical and even deceiptful misperceptions in the attempt to promote, or "sell" various concepts.

YOU ARE INCORRECT in the assumption that ALL functional influence is unethical and wasteful.

Influence is a tool, just as is a scalpel. It can be very sharp, and it can be used to improve or destroy.

Hope that breaks new conceptual ground, or at minimum enlightens the issue.

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