Thursday, 15 July 2010

American Vocabulary - posts for Mamillan Dictionary

Have been posting for Macmillan Dictionary on new online vocabulary here While corresponding with the editor I thought of two other new phrases currently in vogue: 'tipping point' and 'nudge theory'.

Tipping point is another of the terms popularised by Gladwell - it refers to the moment when there is major change - from popularity to unpopularity for example. 'Nudge theory' comes from Richard Thaler and works on the idea that we are inherently lazy and tend to take the default option in most circumstances. The 'nudge' is to gently push us in the right direction for our benefit or the general good. One example would be making automatic kidney donation the default - you would need to carry an 'opt-out' card.

The central question, however, is who is doing the nudging? The government? If so, do you trust them to look after your best interests?

Good blog on this from the every reliable Daniel Finkelstein here

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