Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Consumerism and choice and lack of choice

Imagine you're driving with your kids. You stop at a gas station to fill the tank, and they're hungry or thirsty. You didn't carry any drinks or snacks with you, fortunately the gas station sells some. But you look at the choices, and they're all some form of overly sugarfied junk food. What do you do?

Imagine you want to buy a car. The essential desire is to travel around town, and occasional long trips, at relative high speed, relative comfort, and a great deal of freedom. You go to the automobile store and find the choices are gasoline or diesel burning (except if you hunt hard enough). What do you do?

Imagine you want to be informed about the world. You look around for news sources, and the easy ones to find are all owned by humongous multinational corporations that gear the "news" you receive to subtly serve the agenda of the large corporations. What do you do?

Welcome to the modern world. You have a dizzying array of choices before you, but they're all essentially the same choice. Some kind of junk that serves the interest of the large corporation that provided you with the junk, but is actually unhealthy.

Let's think about the first example - if all the drinks or snacks you can find are highly sugared junk, then how are your kids, or you for that matter, going to have a healthy diet? It's easy enough to alternative snacks and drinks, but that's not what's stocked in the store.

If you have freedom of choice, but the choice is limited by the store owner, then do you really have freedom of choice?