Krugman: Too many choices not good
The Nobel Prize economist Paul Krugman had an article in New York Times on March 1 titled “Too much choice is hurting America.” He is a leftist, so it is not a surprise that he was finding fault with the other side. He believes that when the rightists present their policies (mainly less supervision and small government), they usually say that the motivation is to give people more choices, more choices can only be good. But in fact, he said, too many choices bring problems, sometimes serious problems.
What are the problems? Too many choices are dazzling to people and make them not knowing how to even start. Moreover, too many choices provides opportunities for bad people and criminals to decive or exploit people. What’s more, making too many choices makes people nervous leading to mental illness. When making choices on simple things are so terribly nervous, people tend to make even more terrible decisions on important things their actions. This is especially true for the poor: their income is so small, thus faced with so many choices, it is utterly fatal for them. Therefore, many choices are not always advantageous, sometimes harmful, and sometimes even more devastating. We need to provide very few, if not one, choices for people, in Medicare and other things.
Why is too much choice dazzling? He believes that ordinary people do not have the physical vigor and mental ability to make the most favorable decision for themselves facing too manychoices. He gave a few examples. First, someone in Texas chose the wrong electrical provider, thus the electricity bill after the snowstorm was more than 10,000 dollars. Secondly, someone chose a nasty medical insurance, and the bill was astronomical. And third during the subprime mortgage crisis, so many complicated financial products were sold to immature investors.
Krugman’s opinions are not always unreasonable, all in all he is a Nobel winner! But this article did not convince me, the problem is not too many choices, but the problem of (1) particular people’s individual capacity. Should we base social and economic policies on a few people’s individual capacity ? This is absurd if we think this in terms of a supper market, where in the dazzling array of products, there are always people who buy the wrong items for their particular usage. But in that case, they can always ask the store attendant. If we generalize to the economy, consultants are always available in the market economy to help solve the problem. of course, someone would still get it wrong in the end, and sometimes disastrous for them if they buy a very expensive item if notprudent. Should we limitonlya few items in a store so that people don’thave to make choices? This shows two typical problems with the left, number one, elites pompously make decisionsfor others, number two, use the right of some peopleto intrude other people’sright; (2) The issue of supervision. When it comes to regulation, Krugman must love to listen, big government. Certain supervision is necessary, and I am not opposed to it.
Krugman also brought free market leader and economist Friedman over to mock him. Friedman once said in 1980 that the beauty of capitalism lies in free choice. (Milton Friedman’s famous and influential 1980 TV series extolling the wonders of capitalism was titled “Free to Choose.”)
Obviously Friedman was not wrong. We want more choices, not an one product store, or a society everyone wears blue clothes.
I read Krugman to understand the views of the left. I learned a lot from him.