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Many things in the universe follow the PathOfLeastResistance. Whatever option requires the lowest energy will be chosen. On average, electrons and water flow through the PathOfLeastResistance.

People aren't so simple. Often people don't follow the PathOfLeastResistance because it's not as fun. It could be argued people will do the easiest thing they know to improve their lives, but that's still not true as many people have neuroses preventing them from doing this.

Nonetheless, if one wants to regulate a behaviour in an organization or society, it is often sufficient to modify the accessibility of that behaviour. If you make it easier to do, you are encouraging the behaviour. If you make it harder to do, you are discouraging the behaviour.

But, you need to LimitTemptation. Making something difficult can also encourage it in some circumstances.


don't change the PathOfLeastResistance by making a behaviour harder to do, but make an alternate behaviour easily accessible.

For example, another government initiative is safer sex. The government employs a number of tactics, including providing free condoms, family planning centres and sex clinics. Thus, without enforcing safer sex, the government can encourage its practice.

So, I gotta quote in this editorial summary:

Smoking is banned in various public places so that other people in those places aren't exposed to the smoke. It has nothing to do (hopefully) with a sneaky paternalistic way to get less people to smoke.

I'm glad that there are still idealists in this world. B-) Yes, those anti-smoking laws for bars and restaurants are technically to protect employees and other customers, but they have the secondary effect of trying to reduce smoking. Even if you dispute that intention, the ban on TV commercials, tobacco taxes, etc., etc. are intended to get people to smoke less. I think the principle being illustrated still holds. --EvanProdromou


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