Occupy Wall Street and Consumer Choice

Occupy Wall Street and Consumer Choice


In my lectures and workshops on Gamification, one of the topics that folks find most interesting is Choice Mechanics. In a nutshell, there are a wide range of possible frameworks for designing user choices within a system, but conventions (and research such as the awesome Tyranny of Choice) have revealed a few key patterns that seem to work. Namely:

  1. All players are unhappy when there are no choices
  2. Everyone’s satisfaction rises when choices go from none to A vs B
  3. Three choices (Whats behind door number 1, 2 or 3) is the most popular satisfying choice model (with two options coming in a close second

As I started to think about Occupy Wall Street, I realized that much of the context and behavior of the protesters could be understood through the behavioral economic framework of choice mechanics. So, I wrote an article for the Huffington Post explaining my view in greater detail. This should be an interesting read for those who find this stuff as fascinating as I do.

Today, David Brooks in the New York Times expounded on some of the same issues around the US multi-party system and the need for economic liberalization. Taken together, I think they make for particularly good Thanksgiving reads. Happy Holiday.


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