July 2005

The New York Times Magazine ran as its feature article a few weeks ago a description of the framing wars going on in Washington these days. A friend of mine referred the article to me since the article mentioned a lot about George Lakoff, author of “Don’t Think of an Elephant.”

The article highlights something that is really incredibly frustrating to me. In my view, the idea of framing, which I think is correct, says that it’s not facts that “inform” people about the world around them, it’s the frame that they view the facts within. And the decision of what frame you use to view the world with is somthing that is far more dependent on individual factors than anything else – how you were raised, etc. Most economic decisions that most people make on a day to day basis are not rational decisions at all but rather based on the frame that someone views themselves through, which, like all frames, is completely arbitrary.