The Limits Of Power, What You Never Knew – Dewordz - Christian Hip-Hop Blog |Most Trusted CHH Blog

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Friday, January 11, 2019

The Limits Of Power, What You Never Knew – Dewordz


The Cafeteria experiment

Carolyn is in charge of hundreds of schools, and of what hundreds of thousands of kids eat in her cafeterias every day. Carolyn has a master’s degree in nutrition, and she is a creative person who likes to think about things in nontraditional ways. One evening, over a good bottle of wine, she and her friend Adam, a statistics consultant who has worked with supermarket chains, hatched an interesting idea. Without changing any menus, they decide to run some experiments in her schools to determine whether they can trick, seduce or influence the decisions kids make on which food to eat, by displaying food on tables and shelves in a manner that makes that possible. Carolyn gave the directors of dozens of school cafeterias specific instructions on how to display the food choices. In some schools, the desserts were placed first, in others last, in some in a separate line. The location of various food items varied from one school to another. In some schools the doughnuts, but in others, the carrot sticks were at eye level.

From his experience in designing supermarket floor plans, Adam suspected that the results would be dramatic. He was right. Simply by rearranging the cafeteria, Carolyn was able to increase or decrease the consumption of many food items by 25 %. Carolyn learned a big lesson: school children, like adults, can be greatly influenced by small changes in the context. The influence can be exercised for better or for worse. For example, Carolyn knows that she can increase the consumption of healthy foods and decrease consumption of unhealthy ones. With the permission of hundreds of schools to work with, and a team of university students volunteers recruited to collect and analyze the data, Carolyn believes that she now has considerable power to influence what kids eat. Carolyn is pondering what to do with her newfound power. Here are some suggestions she has received from her usually sincere but occasionally mischievous friends and coworkers:

1. Arrange the food to make the students pick the healthy ones;
2. Choose the food order at random;
3. Try to arrange the food such that kids pick the same foods they would choose on their own.
4. Maximize the sales of the items from the suppliers that are willing to offer the largest bribes.
5. Maximize profits, period.

Option 1 (make the students pick the healthy ones) is nice, yet it does seem a bit instructive, even parental. But the alternatives are worse! Option 2, (arrange the food randomly) could be considered fair-minded and principled. But if the orders are randomized across schools, then the children at some schools will have less healthy diets than those at other schools. Is this desirable? Should Carolyn choose that kind of neutrality, if she can easily make most students better off by improving their health? Option 3 (arrange the food such that kids pick the same foods they would choose on their own) might seem to be an honourable attempt to avoid intrusion: try to mimic what the children would choose for themselves. 

Maybe that is really the neutral choice, and maybe Carolyn should neutrally follow people’s wishes (at least where she is dealing with older students). But a little thought reveals that this is a difficult option to implement. Adam’s experiment proves that what kids choose depends on the order in which the items are displayed. What, then, are the true preferences of the children? What does it mean to say that Carolyn should try to figure out what the students would choose “on their own”? Option 4 (display the products of those who bribe well) might appeal to a corrupt person in Carolyn’s job, and manipulating the order of the food items would be a great weapon to exploit power. But Carolyn is honourable and honest, so she does not give this option any thought. Like Options 2 and 3, Option 5 has some appeal, especially if Carolyn thinks that the best cafeteria is the one that makes the most money. But should Carolyn really try to maximize profits if the result is to make children less healthy, especially since she works for the school district? Carolyn is what we will be calling a choice architect. A choice architect has the responsibility for organizing the context in which people; live, see and make decisions.

 If you design the ballot, voters use to choose candidates, you are a choice architect. If you are a doctor and must describe the alternative treatments available to a patient, you are a choice architect. If you design the way in which the media works you’re a choice architect. If you are a parent, describing possible educational options to your son or daughter, you are a choice architect. If you are a salesperson, you are a choice architect. l argue that our president, is a type 5 choice architect, and this is why.


Tokens, Pariahs and Moral Licensing
The president of Cameroon decided to release, some detainees while applying the concept of moral licensing.
What is moral licensing? It is opening the door that benefits a select few, and then closing it behind them such that no one else enters. Daniel Al frame who is the author of this notion describes the insanities of Hitler in Nazi Germany where the Jews were burnt in the concentration camp, by stating that, not all Jews were burnt. Some Jews were ministers; the best musician back then was a Jew and a few others in public eye. They were never burnt. The door was opened for them and then closed on all the others. Malcolm Gladwell the popularize if this idea predicted that, if Hilary Clinton was to win the US  elections, that door would be closed from many other women for a long time.
Tokens

These are the people who receive the token (gift or exoneration); they are those who get to enter the open door.  In Cameroon, the university students of the academic year 2017-2018 received laptops as a presidential gift, we were tokens. Boulangerie Francaise in its opening day took 20 people who could eat anything they wanted, as long as they wanted, but they couldn’t leave with anything.
On those in prison, the president in two occasions has released some detainees in their custody for this issue. A few of them, out of the large undermined number that keeps on growing each day
Pariahs

These are the people who while being present or existing during the era of the tokens, don’t get to receive any privilege. They are those upon whom, the doors are being closed.
Examples will be the Jews burnt but that Nazi camps, and those who didn’t receive the advantages I highlighted above and many others.

People like Mancho Bibixy and the detainees did not release after the president's orders are pariahs.
Moral licensing can now be perceived as the process where the choice architect turns us from complaining, by telling us that: see, I’ve at least done this for you, so be grateful. In our case, it was the release of a very few detainees from prison. Option 5 that will benefit him most.  Moral licensing is the strategy most leaders (mostly politicians) use to silence, discordant voices.
Does it work? Has it been effective on your part?

Please, kindly place your comments, both positive and negative to inspire the writer.  While not forgetting to share with those who might need to read this. You know them!
Thanks for reading this long.
I am Leslie Micheal ace

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