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Volume 20  Number 3  •  Winter 2016
Other Issues:  

Life Is a Battlefield
By Dan Ariely, Janet A. Schwartz
This article appeared in the Winter 2016 issue of The Independent Review

There are two standard policy alternatives for combatting the harmful behaviors that commercialism encourages: ineffective “soft” paternalistic requirements mandating that consumers receive “helpful” information, such as calorie counts; and “hard” paternalistic rules that curtail individual choice, such as restrictions on sugary soft-drinks and other unhealthy options. Perhaps the best approach for dealing with the clash between short-term pleasures and long-term interests is to take a libertarian path between hard and soft paternalism, one that encourages good behavior while allowing individual choice.