Cass R. Sunstein, Manipulation As Theft, 29 J. Eur. Pub. Pol'y 1959 (2022).
Abstract: Should there be a right not to be manipulated? On Kantian grounds, manipulation, lies and paternalistic coercion are moral wrongs, and for similar reasons; they deprive people of agency, insult their dignity, and fail to respect personal autonomy. On welfarist grounds, manipulation, lies and paternalistic coercion share a different characteristic; they displace the choices of those whose lives are directly at stake, and who are likely to have epistemic advantages, with the choices of outsiders, who lack critical information. Kantians and welfarists should be prepared to endorse a (moral) right not to be manipulated, though on very different grounds. At the same time, the creation of a legal right not to be manipulated raises hard questions, in part because of definitional challenges. With welfarist considerations in mind, it is best to start by prohibiting the most egregious instances of manipulation, while emphasizing that they may not count as fraud or deception. The basic goal should be to build on the claim that in certain cases, manipulation is a form of theft; the law should forbid theft, whether it occurs through force, lies, or manipulation.