Wednesday, December 29, 2010


The author does not argue whether we have free will or not--she assumes that we do.  She examines, among other things, the question of how much choice we actually have in this so-called free society, when so much is the subject of corporate manipulation.

"The consumer who is going through circles of consumption and de-cluttering and who constantly seems to be failing in the self-mastery that is promoted by the ideology of choice can often be plagued by doubt, and the abundance of options leads to regret, which is why denial may help him or her to avoid these feelings..."

Her chapters are titled:

1. Why Choice Makes Us Anxious

2. Choosing Through Others' Eyes

3. Love Choices

4. Children: To Have Or Have Not?

5. Forced Choice

It is a interesting book, 184 pages including index, four "further reading" pages of sources, and some valuable endnotes.  My only complaint with it is that it is not comprehensive enough.  Too much territory is covered too briefly.

For instance, she details the credit card excesses but does not go in to how the credit card companies engineered this intentionally, with impromptu rate changes and a shared monopolization of policies.  Once in, the consumer had no choice to go elsewhere because there was nowhere better to turn.

This same elimination of choices is everywhere in American life, in every industry.  Corporate policies and prices are set industry wide through collusion and ad hoc monopolies.  Lip service is always given to "the free market" by politicians, but where is the free market in this?

The Tyranny of Choice (Big Ideas)The choice we have is a personal choice.  Glass half empty or glass half full; as Lincoln said, most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.  We can only make a seperate peace with the world and shed our addictions to stuff, to empty material things, as best as we can.  We can choose instead to value true love, the one intangible that makes life worthwhile.

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