Thursday, February 25, 2016

It Could Get Yuuuge

Writing for USA Today, Glenn Reynolds shares the ideas of economist Timur Kuran who writes about "preference falsification" and "preference cascades" in his book Private Truths, Public Lies: The Social Consequences of Preference Falsification.
People tend to hide unpopular views to avoid ostracism or punishment; they stop hiding them when they feel safe. This can produce rapid change: In totalitarian societies like the old Soviet Union the police and propaganda organizations do their best to enforce preference falsification.

This works until something breaks the spell and the discontented realize that their feelings are widely shared, at which point the collapse of the regime may seem very sudden to outside observers — or even to the citizens themselves. Kuran calls this sudden change a “preference cascade,” and I wonder if that’s not what’s happening here.
Reynolds uses preference cascade to explain why we finally begin to see lots of educated people admit they back Trump. The less academically blessed were quicker to board the Trump bandwagon because nobody coerced their conformity to the establishment's anti-Trump orthodoxy.