It is clear that Labour’s leadership are executing the New Labour playbook with a touch of 20th century triangulation by pandering exclusively to communities that don’t vote for them and adding the practice of trolling those that do. On issues from foreign policy, public sector pay, fiscal policy and the EU, we can see this to be so.
In James Surowiecki’s book the Wisdom of Crowds, he examines the behavioural economics game of “Ultimatum”, which shows that you can’t take people for granted, if people don’t like the rules they won’t play the game.
In Ultimatum, players are divided into groups of two, and one is the proposer, who proposes how to split $10,000, the second player can accept or reject. If rejected, neither gets anything. Economic rationalism suggests that the second player will always accept any offer; however, reality tells a different story. The second player on the whole rejected lowball offers that they think to be unfair. Interestingly, in a second round, both players were told that the proposers had got high scores in a test, and in those circumstances the average at which proposals were rejected fell; if people thought the proposer’s deserved the privilege of proposing, then offers the accepters might once have considered unacceptable became acceptable.
In politics, as in life, you can’t take people for granted! You’d have thought that Labour had learnt this truth.
Originally published at https://davelevy.info on August 29, 2023.