Too Much Of A Good Thing

Maximizing choice for the individual can have a terribly negative impact on the whole.
August 18, 2003, 12pm PDT | Abhijeet Chavan | @legalaidtech
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"The economists' version of the Nicene creed would probably start: 'I believe in choice.' [T]he more choices we can have, the greater our enjoyment of life...cutting edge research these days is being done by economic psychologists who test the textbook assumptions on real life volunteers and conclude that our choices are often quite irrational. The latest salvo is fired today by the Fabians - in A Better Choice of Choice by Roger Levett - who argue that the government should abandon its obsession with consumer choice in economic policy and reform of public services. Private consumption is no guarantee of greater freedom, they argue, singling out the car as the most obvious example. It brought the freedom to travel that only the wealthiest had previously enjoyed. But when most households exercise that freedom the result is congestion, pollution and streets that are no longer safe for children to walk. A series of perfectly rational individual choices has led to an outcome nobody wants."

Thanks to Richard Layman

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Published on Monday, August 18, 2003 in The Guardian Unlimited
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