Part of living in a capitalist world is the mantra that the consumer is central – and what the consumer always wants is more choice. More choice of holidays, televisions, television channels, cars, mobile phones, etc, etc, etc. The more choice we have, the more power. Through exercising choice in what we consume we state our claim to be the kings of the market, in charge of our destiny and, in control of our world. We learn to be clever and capable consumers, proud of our ability to haggle the best deal and secure the best price. At the same time the miraculous internet has expanded our choice, both of what we buy, and who we buy it from.
How ironic then is it that as our choice expands, our ability to choose diminishes.
We learn that choice is good. We desire a chocolate bar and pop in to the newsagents to buy one and, faced with the selection that greets us, our brain explodes bedazzled with the range of products available to us. We emerge triumphant at securing the bar we finally decide upon, but exhausted by the mental and emotional effort involved in choosing.
The real question is – how much choice do we really need? And is an abundance of choice always helpful?
Keith’s Choice Formula – At the point where the scale of choice exceeds the capacity of the consumer to exercise that choice meaningfully then the benefit of having choice decreases proportionately. In other words choice, to be beneficial,has always to be limited. Next question, (and I hope you’re paying attention), is how do we limit choice?