The Value of Setting Defaults

Posted: August 18, 2016 by Nazim in Legislation

L0060508 Kidney donor cards, England, 1971-1981

A great many episodes ago, I mentioned the value of legislation mandating that people should have to opt-out of being organ donors, instead of allowing them to opt-in to it. In other words, making the default that you DO donate your organs, instead of don’t. Moral inertia is a great and reliable virtue, and legislative misuse of it drives me mad. Clearly, people who don’t want their organs harvested to feed zombies, shouldn’t be forced to, but – also clearly – those people care about the issue and feel strongly about it, so asking them to check a box is not a big imposition. On the other hand, most people, again, clearly, don’t care, and can’t bother to check a box. So we might as well use their innards to help someone else make more mistakes in a longer life.

A satisfyingly greater amount on this matter here, on Pro Publica.

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