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The paradox of choice | Barry Schwartz

The paradox of choice | Barry Schwartz

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The official dogma of all Western Industrial Societies

The dogma is this: If we are interested in maximising the welfare of our citizens, we have to maximise individual freedom.  The reason is that freedom is good, valuable, worthwhile, and essential to being human.

The way to maximise freedom is to maximise choice: The more c...

Too many choices

We have an almost unlimited variety of choices, for example, hundreds of salad dressings, an unlimited variety of phones, choices in health care, prescription drugs and more.

Even something like our identity can become a matter of choice. We get to invent and reinvent ours...

Too much choice has two negative effects on people:

  1. Paradoxically, it produces paralysis rather than liberation. Too many options, and people find it very difficult to choose at all.
  2. Even if we overcome the paralysis and make a choice, ...

Too many options lead us to expect perfection - you may never be pleasantly surprised by quality because your expectations have gone through the roof. 

When you choose from thousands of options, you may always feel disappointed. You may think you're at fault because you could've chosen some...

The problem that lies in the modern, affluent, Western societies is that expensive, complicated choices don't help. They make us worse off. 

Therefore, income redistribution can make everyone better off, because of how excess choice plagues us. Too many choices don't give freedom. It paraly...

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