Why aren't Americans saving more money toward retirement, NYT wonders, when we all know it's something we ought to do? The article
summons forth the impressively up-to-date explanatory power of the loss aversion theory of economics (the idea that we value $100 we might lose more than $100 we might gain), the theory of hyperbolic discounting (the overweighting of immediate rewards and costs), and brain-scan studies on the divergent roles of the lateral prefrontal cortex and the limbic system in decisionmaking. It ends by considering "a neurochemical intervention mechanism" to help workers save money. A 401K pill?
But there's another, simpler answer, and it's right there in the headline of another article on the very same page of the online Times: Falling Fortunes of Wage Earners
Not to mention the fact that we're all exposed to a continuous barrage of messages telling us to buy, to spend our money. What if all of us saw hundreds of advertisements per day telling us to save?