Friday, April 10, 2009

Cure Traps

"The plan was to transfer six hundred of Arizona's inmates to Indiana, which would result in what Indiana's Republican governor, Mitch Daniels, called 'pure profit." Indiana would receive additional funds to house these prisoners, and Indianans would be hired to fill the new jobs at the expanded facility."

Zachary Shore,Blunder: Why Smart People Make Bad Decisions

The cognitive trap shaping this decision, according to Zachary Shore, is "cure-allism," the indiscriminate and uninformed adoption of privatization schemes to solve social and economic problems, in this case the privatization of prisons. The incentives are present to sharply reduce prison costs by outsourcing -- basic human needs, rehabilitation and health-care. All to save or make a buck. Indeed, private prisons advocate for more prisoners to fuel their economic engine, a new form of slavery that produces little but lives parasitically off of public largesse, fears, and indifference.

No wonder there were riots.

"A variant of flatview, cure-allism is a dogmatic belief that a successful theory can be applied indiscriminately. Both cognitive traps rely on overly reductive rigid categorization."

Unfortunately, we can't help ourselves. We like cures, generalizations, silver bullets.

No comments: