Challenging Choices: Ideology, Consumerism and Policy by Michael Clarke

By Michael Clarke

Selection pervades our society, and for sturdy cause. we are living in a society based on political rights to settle on and in an economic system in response to industry offerings, yet we've reached an contrary severe within which selection is prolonged virtually in all places. selection has develop into an ideology: extra is normally visible as invaluable, and infrequently as an answer to coverage concerns. This energetic and topical ebook presents a critique of selection in modern society and coverage, arguing that we will have an excessive amount of of an outstanding factor. A critical loss of selection frustrates and downsides us, and having offerings empowers us, yet consistent extension of selection overwhelms us. And there are options. partly one, the writer indicates how selection works at a private point, its calls for, and the way it could fail to paintings on the own and coverage degrees. through reading key coverage matters comparable to healthcare, schooling and pensions, he then explores the choices to selection, equivalent to provision. partly the ebook reports the influence of selection on us during the existence cycle, determining the not easy offerings which are now required in appreciate of jobs and careers, relationships and fertility, retirement and loss of life. From the trivial to the momentous, offerings now dominate our lives to an quantity that has dramatically elevated very quickly. In a concise and readable type, the writer considers no matter if this complements or burdens our lives, and questions the blithe assumption that extra selection is usually for the higher.

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Example text

First, if the industrialist got his planning and investment wrong, and was either beaten by the competition, or produced goods or services which were not much in demand, he would fail, and hence his employees would be redundant. Secondly, if he succeeded, the process of innovation itself requires constant re-equipping, reorganisation and retraining of work forces. Skills become redundant, and workforce numbers may fall as machines can do jobs for which workers’ hands and brains were previously required.

It is time to ask how and why this has happened, in order to get a grip on why it has such a central role in our lives. 35 three Choice and the consumer society T here will be those who will have responded with frustration to the last chapter: ‘This is all about process, not outcome. You pointed out that adaptation is what we are good at. Maybe choice is not always fun, but overall its expansion has given us a vastly increased control over our lives, individually and collectively, and enabled us to do things undreamed of in the past.

Individualised choice and responsibility for it in a culture emphasising the right to choose in respect of everything burdens people with the liability for their choices, whereas a society characterised more by provision, with the responsibilities it leaves with the provider to maintain adequate standards, lessens the burden on the individual. Leaving space for care to sustain some relationships, leaving them open rather than formally or functionally defined, further softens social life. By contrast, making competition a leading feature of culture and the basis 32 making choices: just fun?

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