Friday, May 28, 2010

Don't Nudge Marriage

The one thing I thought Thaler and Sunstein were most wrong about in Nudge was the idea of privatizing marriage. They propose that the state "get out of the marriage business," offering only legal civil unions. Marriage would be left entirely to religious institutions.

Their account of marriage misses the fact that marriage as a social institution is not primarily about the feelings of the married couple, but about the best arrangement for raising children. Marriage works best for kids, and produces many of its benefits for married people, because it is a permanent, socially recognized and supported institution.

Marriage is not a nudge, but a permanent choice to change yourself into a part of something larger than yourself.


ceemac said...

off topic but are you doing a "Theory Camp" this summer. I have enjoyed your posts on those the last few years.

If you could post the main book you are going to be reading and commenting on in the blog it might be fun to just MAYBE TRY and read it or part of it before you start posting.

Gruntled said...

Yes, we will have Theory Camp at the end of July. We will be reading two by Michael Sandel, Democracy's Discontent and Justice.

ceemac said...


I think I read part of DD or some summary articles by Sandel around the time it came out in the late 90's.

Which Justice b? Sandel? "Justice: What's the right thing to do?" or "Justice: The reader."

Gruntled said...

Justice: What's The Right Thing to Do?