Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Nice little essay by Cass Sunstein on the issues surrounding the freedom to choose:
In countless contexts, the government, or some private institution, must decide among three possible approaches: Give people the opportunity to opt in; give people the opportunity to opt out; or require people to make some kind of active choice. For example, an employer may say that employees will be enrolled in a pension plan only if they opt in. Alternatively, it may automatically enroll employees in a pension plan (while allowing them the opportunity to opt out). Or it may instead tell employees that they can’t start work unless they say whether they want to participate in a pension plan.
As one of the legions of people suffering from "decision fatigue," I am a great fan of opt-out clauses. Please, let the thing that will probably be best for me happen without my being involved at all:
Much of the time, sensible people choose not to choose.

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

"As one of the legions of people suffering from "decision fatigue,"..."

THIS is the prime flaw of Democracy and Republic. It assumes and requires a willingness to put forth significant effort.

People hate making decisions, even about important things. They hate it so much that most people don't vote for their own president, and certainly don't vote on their governors or other local leaders.

And then if they DO vote, they don't vote based on their own decisions. They watch to see how other people are going to vote. They follow the trends they're most comfortable with. They listen to advertisers and lobbyists who promise them the moon for voting one way, and who predict the end of the world for voting the other way. They join "parties" that have blanket values and stances that can be rubberstamped onto different individual situations, so no one has to actually be bothered to make decisions that truly fit a given scenario. They pick which candidates to vote for based on how they look and sound on TV rather than on any fitness to rule they may possess.