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The Tyranny of UtilityBehavioral Social Science and the Rise of Paternalism$
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Gilles Saint-Paul

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691128177

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691128177.001.0001

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The Modern Paternalistic State

The Modern Paternalistic State

(p.97) 8 The Modern Paternalistic State
The Tyranny of Utility

Gilles Saint-Paul

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines modern paternalism through a number of examples and relates it to the intellectual apparatus analyzed in the previous chapters. An important point here is that only a fraction of the paternalistic interventions observed are grounded on the intellectual apparatus described in the preceding chapters. Conversely, many proponents of behavioral economics are in favor of a moderate dose of paternalism and would not approve of all the policies that the chapter discusses. However, this does not invalidate the point that by becoming behavioral, economics is no longer capable of providing an intellectual safeguard against excess government intrusion in private matters. The chapter then looks at the numerous challenges and contradictions that opened the door for wide-ranging government involvement in private matters.

Keywords:   modern paternalism, intellectual apparatus, paternalistic interventions, behavioral economics, intellectual safeguard, government intrusion, government involvement

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