Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Britons are Confused by Excessive Choice

A report based on the views of 6,000 people conducted by the University of Bristol sponsored by the price comparison site has found that people in the UK are overwhelmed by choice and information.

Focus groups of adult men and women, some of whom were parents and others older, were asked how they coped with the choice offered them. Almost half (47%) said they could not make decisions about every day life. Politics baffled 65% of people, and bankers’ bonuses and interest rates confused 69%. Modern expressions were also often confusing.

Wales (84%) was the most confused region of the UK, with the South East next (82%). Northern Ireland was the least confused (73%). 84% of women were confused compared with 72% of men. But confusion decreases with age as people gain experience and confidence. Young people were more confused, nearly half of those aged 18-24 lying awake agonising over choices, compared to 34% of those aged 55-64.

British governments since Margaret Thatcher’s, but especially in the neothatcherite, neoconservative “New Labour” period of the odiously opportunistic T Blair, have complicated matters for the ordinary person with their bonfires of regulations, and their plethora of new laws introduced under the excuse of giving us more choice. The choice is of sharks to consume our earnings more easily and less honestly, and governments to control us all, not merely terrorists!

The most laughable was the destruction of the health service under the guise of choice. No one cares about choosing, when they are ill. They want the nearest most accessible hospital to be of the same high standard as any other, so that choice is superfluous. Choice was Blair’s way of undermining a universal health service in the UK so that separate trusts—read independent market driven medical units—could be set up, ready for their privatization. Education was the same.

It was especially true of financial services, which are now so complicated to hide the various get rich quick scams they contain for so called financial advisors, banks and insurance comapanies that only experts can understand them, and, it seems that the financiers themselves often do not.

The confusion of excessive choice is now creating opportunities for entrepreneurs like those at to help people through the minefields they now unnecessarily face. People are so confused by the choice they are incapable of making decisions. These “indeciders” are confused to the extent that they cannot decide among the excessive range of choices they are offered. They often end up plumping for something that is far from suitable, but lets some financial crook make a comfortable unearned income. The poor punter realizes their choice has been dodgy, and end up falling into a state of depression. Professor Harriet Bradley of Bristol University’s Sociology department said:

With a constant stream of new media, daily technological advancements and aggressive multimedia advertising, it’s no wonder that over half of Britain thinks life is more confusing for them than it is for their parents. We really are becoming a nation of “indeciders”.

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