Nudging benefit sanctions

It’s really quite remarkable that not so many years ago children in the school yard, yobs in the street and cruel minded people in all walks of life could refer to disabled people as “spastics” or “spazzies”. We as a society condemned these small and sinister verbal abuses and went to great lengths to outlaw them as incendiary, vicious and loathsome manifestations of hate and bigotry. We succeeded, it was not only considered “bad form” but such despicable behaviour was addressed in the disabilities acts and various discrimination against the disabled amendments to law. Now we seem to have come full circle where disabled people are commonly verbally assaulted or even physically attacked due entirely to the Tory choice use of inflammatory “language” encouraging the general public to view disabled people as skivers and scroungers and a liability to society thus encouraging renewed discrimination. What kind of government actively promotes loathing of a vulnerable and already discomfited minority?

Politics and Insights

“Behavioural theory is a powerful tool for the government communicator, but you don’t need to be an experienced social scientist to apply it successfully to your work.”
Alex Aiken
Executive Director of
Government Communications

When it comes to technocratic fads like nudge, it’s worth bearing in mind that truth and ethics quite often have an inversely proportional relationship with the profit motive.

I’ve written more than one critical piece about the Government’s Behavioural Insights Team, particularly its insidiously malevolent influence on the psychocratic policies aimed at “behavioural changes” which are being imposed on the poorest citizens. 

From the shrinking category of legitimate “disability” to forcing people to work for no pay on exploitative workfare schemes, “nudge” has been used to euphemistically frame punitive policies, “applying the principles of behavioural economics to the important issue of the transition from welfare to work.” (See: Employing BELIEF:Applying behavioural economics…

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