Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"Choice is Deliberate Desire"

Delving into Michael Allingham's Choice Theory: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford Universty Press, 2002), it's hard not to start thinking about the choices we are making all the time, or that are made for us. How so many free choices are really gambles. To at least some extent, we are all gamblers!

Modern life. Any kind of insurance. How much should the deductible be vs. the payment plan vs. the possible payout? How much is risk aversion, a requirement of law, prudence or a feeling of safety?

The dentist. My dentist says I need two crowns, an expensive proposition for anyone who is not a millionaire. What do I do? I think, no I don't -- you are trying to choose for me in order to make more money. Instead, I choose to deal with each crown as necesssary, certainly in a more fiscally paced way. It's a gamble that I can wait as long as I want.

Driving, or more accurately, speeding. Who doesn't make a quick calculation such as, ah, everybody's speeding, what are the chances that a traffic cop will bust me? Just in case, let's keep it to "only five miles over the limit."

A nuclear Iran. The Iranian leadership has chosen to develop nuclear power, which will evidently enable Iran to develop nuclear weaponry, as well. ("Choice is deliberate desire." -- Allingham, page 21). The leadership of many other nations does not like Iran's choice, and in turn some choose to obstruct and delay and (try to) block Iran's choice. The leadership of Israel, managing its own nuclear arsenal, could choose to attack Iran. Likewise, if Iran completes a nuclear weapons system, Iran's leadership could choose to attack Israel. What are the chances either way?

Any way you cut it, choice theory is pretty damned interesting. Given how many daily choices we all make, large and small, we should probably think about the process more often.

Today's Rune: The Mystery Rune.


Adorably Dead said...

Very nice and interesting post. ^_^

the walking man said...

I have a theory of choice as well. I choose not to spend ne dime on anything or anyone holiday related and if 250,000,000 other people do exactly the same choice not only will they have a nicer warmer more family oriented holiday, it would take the weapon of choice away from them who are waging war on the consuming class.

Charles Gramlich said...

and the choices seem to increase, at least in products and so on. It's mind boggling.