Join getAbstract to access the summary!

How to Create a Better New Normal

Join getAbstract to access the summary!

How to Create a Better New Normal


5 min read
6 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Learn about how social change happens from a co-author of nudge theory.

Editorial Rating



  • Eye Opening
  • Concrete Examples


To help create change – and build understanding of how social change happens – the RSA has been speaking with policy makers and practitioners who explore the processes of change. In this video from the RSA’s “Living Change” series, RSA chief Matthew Taylor speaks with Cass R. Sunstein about his book This Is Not Normal and the current state of change in 2021. Sunstein, an influential legal scholar and co-author of nudge theory, teaches at Harvard Law School.


Societies depend on technocrats to help solve large problems.

Social change can arise from scientific research and discourse, and this technocratic change can have enormous impact in the long run. Society depends on experts – technocrats – to find solutions to large problems, such as climate change, highway deaths, opioid addiction and lack of equal opportunity.

The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the role of experts. Although these people do make mistakes and don’t always agree with one another, society needs them.

Researchers in empirical social sciences, including economics and psychology, are making significant discoveries.

Although the social sciences in academe appear to be stagnating, social scientists who do empirical research are producing fascinating and important findings in economics, psychology and analytical sociology – a branch of sociology that looks for mechanisms.

For example, if a store pays customers a small amount for bringing their own plastic bags, ...

About the Speaker

Cass R. Sunstein is an influential American legal scholar, the author of This Is Not Normal: The Politics of Everyday Expectations and How Change Happens, and co-author of Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness.

Comment on this summary