Telling Lies
The food labeling debate shows why paternalism is so offensive

Even kids know that numbers aren't always the most important thing

Mark D. White

This morning's Baby Blues comic strip falls under the category "out of the mouths of babes":


Even litte Hammie knows that it isn't always about the numbers--sometimes it's about the principle of that matter!

This made me think of Amartya Sen's example of counterpreferential choice in which a person has to choose between a small and large apple, leaving the other one for someone else. The person wants the larger apple, but also feels the larger apple should be left for the other person out of courtesy, and may therefore choose the smaller apple. It isn't necessarily that the person "wants" to be courteous more than he or she wants the larger apple; it may be that the person's highest desire is for the larger apple, but his or her respect for social decorum overrules that preference when it comes to choosing an apple. (I make that point often in my work on Kant and choice; for instance, see my Kantian Ethics and Economics, pp. 42-46.)


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