The Paradox of Choice — Why More is Less

In this one hour video, Professor Barry Schwartz explains why too much choice is not always good. This is a paradoxical concept since western belief is that more choice means more freedom and happiness.

At about 45 minutes into this video, Schwartz comments on the effect of money on happiness. He says that …”What is true is that once you cross subsistence, whatever subsistence is in your society, additional increases in wealth have virtually no effect on well-being. There is a hugh steep curve going from zero to subsistence. But once you cross that line of subsistence, the curve flattens out. It is worth knowing, in case you have a choice between choosing x and making more money, almost certainly choosing x is what you should choose.”

WATCH VIDEO on Google Video »

Here is another video of a talk Schwartz gave at TED summarizing the concept that too much choice can mean decrease happiness.

WATCH VIDEO on YouTube »

To learn more read Barry Schwartz’s book The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less

Schwartz also mentions in on page 106 of the book that “people in rich countries are happier than people in poor countries. Obviously, money matters. But what these surveys also reveal is that money doesn’t matter as much as you might think. Once a society’s level of per capital wealth crosses a threshold from poverty to adequate subsistence, further increase in national wealth have almost no effect on happiness.”