Occupy Wall Street and Consumer Choice

Occupy Wall Street and Consumer Choice

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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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