Monday, October 15, 2007

The Tragedy of Choice

The very fact that making a choice requires a certain expenditure of cognitive power implies that at some point at possibility exists where one might be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choices. For me, this point was digital television. Something that was willingly purchased (albeit not by me, perhaps the person with the money has different tastes.) 200 odd channels is simply too much; I'd be better off if many (most?) of them simply disappeared.

The problem is, of course, that rigging each individual's television to work perfectly with their preferences is an impossibility, and the choice between no choice and lots of choice is an easy choice. Second best solutions, second best world, etc, to quote the Rodrik mantra.

Either way, such unusual outcomes (at least from the standpoint of traditional micro theory) are worth keeping track of.

ANECDOTE: Some ambitious third-years (American readers would know them as juniors, I believe) have tied together the initiative to restart the economics society, which, like the phoenix, dies and is ressurected on a periodic basis. Ah, the optimism of youth!

No comments: