Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Freedom of Choice

The topic that seems to worry everybody nowadays is how to maintain freedom of choice on a planet where that very thing seems to be leading to people making the worst choices. The environment is going to hell, people are getting obese, and so on. So I'm going to talk about freedom of choice.

Here's a simple scenario. There are too options. Let's say the traditional keyboard and Janko keyboard. You probably haven't heard of the Janko keyboard which proves my first point, that all choices to choose amongst must be visible.

So we start from the premise that all choices must be made visible. Then there's another thorn. What is practical? Suppose you want to play a song with the symphony with the Janko keyboard but they play using standard layout pianos. They play using the standard layout pianos because that's what everybody else uses and it's familiar. In order to have choice in this situation, there must be an allowance of going against the grain. In capitalism, when there's competing product types like Blu Ray and HD dvds, one product eventually becomes standard. This may work for standardized computer keyboards but it doesn't do much good for products which are significantly different but have equal merit.

I believe that this standardization can be overcome but, for this particular case, the Janko keyboard needs to be consistently advertised and a tradition must be built with it. So here we figure out that there not only needs to be freedom of choice, there needs to be freedom of effective choice. Once a tradition of use is set in motion, then there can be a true freedom of choice. There are places unlike this where standardization is necessary like with language where we need to use common words.

Capitalism as it stands now does not concern itself with freedom of effective choice. Most of the time, there's an excessive number of variations on the same product whether it's shampoos and hair care products or potato chips. I don't presume that one can legislate every decision based on standards like this, but ultimately I believe that we should think of freedom of choice in a manner that's effective.

There's two ways to go on the freedom of effective choice when it comes to my example of products. Either we decide to sell products that allow for effective choice out of our own will or it must be forced through a socialism-like system.

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