Don't Blame Us: How Our Attributional Proclivities Influence the Relationship Between Americans, Business, and Government
Entrepreneurial Business Law Journal, Vol. 5, 2010
53 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2010 Last revised: 6 Dec 2010
Date Written: November 8, 2010
In the wake of the worst economic crisis in the United States since the Great Depression, there has been a drive to reconfigure the regulatory state and renegotiate the relationship between Americans, business, and government. This Article argues that the ultimate formulation of that relationship turns, to a significant degree, on our basic attributional tendencies, particularly where we look to assign causal responsibility when things go wrong. The Article begins by summarizing evidence from the mind sciences concerning our basic attributional framework, before investigating its value to business as a ready means to (1) manipulate our environments to encourage profitable consumer behavior and (2) avoid regulation and liability. As a case study of the ways in which corporations play on our basic attributional proclivities to manage negative outcomes, the Article focuses on the recent battle over the creation of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.
Keywords: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, CFPB, CFPA, financial crisis, credit cards, law and mind sciences, attributions, critical realism, situationism, regulation, paternalism
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