On the Rise of the Psychological State
Chapter 3: In the heat of the moment: gambling and saving behaviours
Much of the backdrop to the emergence of behaviour change as a philosophy of government in the UK and beyond has been centred on the many crises of neoliberalism. As we proceed to show in the following chapters, the overwhelming predominance of neoliberal ideas as a means of organizing society and the economy has led to the emergence of serious challenges to the environment, the human body and the streets on which we live. We are using too many resources, and this is leading to manifold environmental problems, most notably climate change. We are overeating and drinking to excess, and this is causing severe health problems and a related set of pressures on health services. We are driving too quickly on residential streets, thus undermining the quality of life of the residents who live on them. All of these challenges have been addressed through a series of coercive legal measures, such as the imposition of ever-higher tax rates on fuel, attempts to ban advertising for junk food on television during peak-time viewing, and the designation of lower speed limits on many streets within our towns and cities. But, at the same time, a suite of behaviour change interventions have also been viewed as a way of providing potential ‘neuroliberal’ solutions to these problems, as individuals are cajoled subtly into making appropriate decisions that will ensure their own – and the broader society’s – health, wealth and happiness.
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