From ‘System 1’ MDGs to ‘System 2’ SDGs: the wrong way?

Posted: May 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

From ‘System 1’ MDGs to ‘System 2’ SDGs: the wrong way? - what comes after the MDGs?

This post is written by Jan Vandemoortele, formerly with the UN and co-architect of the MDGs.

In his book Thinking, Fast and Slow (2012), Daniel Kahneman, psychologist and Nobel laureate in economics, describes two aspects of the human brain through which we process information and make associations and decisions. He speaks of two systems: System 1 and System 2. The former is intuitive, quick and easy; the latter is analytical, slow, arduous and often lazy.

Although quick, System 1 is prone to make us jump to conclusions on the basis of what seems familiar, often without realising it. Kahneman writes, “A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth”. Indeed, sheer repetition can make any idea ring true; as we easily default to well-established associations. In order to avoid such mistakes, System 2 kicks in to check our intuitions…

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