Monday, December 5, 2011
68. Is there a choice?
You go to a restaurant and choose for yourself; you go to a shopping mall and choose soap, sandal and shirt for yourself; you go to car garage and pick car of your choicest color; and most youngsters choose their brides. Life is on a roller coaster ride, you would imagine, with variety of choices spread all across. Yet, as you watch closely you'd get to see that the choices are indeed 'limited' and it is no more than Hobson's choice you end up making - either you have 'this' or 'none'.
Haven't leading brands proliferated because choices have been smartly restricted? Aren't corporations expanding their global reach on account of limiting consumer's choice? Haven't democracies enforced choice between 'better of the worst' at the ballot box? The most celebrated application of Hobson's choice in the 20th century was Henry Ford's offer of the Model-T Ford in 'any colour you like, as long as it is black.'
The idea of 'choice' is what you make of it. Neither can you choose your parents, nor can children be of your choice. And as you go to your doctor, the idea of 'choice' takes a beating. 'Doctor, we will go by your advice' is what lays the idea of choice to 'rest'. How often have you gone against your doctor's prescription? Yet, you think you can make informed choice in a world that is largely driven by Hobson's choice.