Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Public Philosopher

On BBC Radio 4, The Public Philosopher debates whether we should pay people to lose weight.  Debate is very well directed/explored by Sandel,
  • The eminent Harvard political philosopher Michael Sandel brings his trademark style to a discussion on a current issue, questioning the thinking underlying a current controversy This week, he takes a provocative look at the controversial subject of incentivising good health.

    Michael Sandel has been enthralling students at Harvard for years. These discussions - recorded in front of an audience at the London School of Economics - bring his trademark style to Radio 4. They're challenging, outspoken and interactive.

    Sandel turns his attention to health and ponders whether the present constraints on the NHS leave us with no choice but to bribe people to be healthy. Profound moral questions lie behind paying people to lose weight, quit smoking or abandon alcohol. Michael Sandel weaves through these issues with the help of philosophers past and present

One participant on such a program lost 5 stone over 2 years (and has maintained it), with a pay-off of £1200.  Sandel also discusses the Price Effect, where monetary incentives crowd out other kinds of norms - in this case, such as crowding out the 'right attitudes' to health (not least personal responsibility and accountability for your decisions).

With bad dietary advice focusing on calorie counting rather than the quality of food, this question will become increasingly pertinent.

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