Over the past 24hrs the media has been awash with proposed moves to “fine” parents for their children’s unauthorised absence from school meanwhile over on Radio 4 this morning, debate raged over whether the NHS might “bribe”/“incentivise” (both terms are used) the obese to lose weight.
Simultaneously local authorities such as mine, Brighton and Hove, are busy “disincentivising” the use of cars through ever increasing charges for on-street parking.
Whatever term you use, and whatever side of the fence you’re on, “incentive”, “bribe”, “disincentive” there’s a trend here. Is this what all of the interest in “nudge” has boiled down to? Of course, simultaneously, other, more subtle, tactics are being deployed, but the monetary angle is the one that grabs the limelight. If money is going to steal the show then, we must take care, these terms are heavily value-laden speaking to personal choice, dignity and dishonesty – watch your words!