In many things there are options. Often we respond by framing the resulting choice as a question of either or. However in a world of few absolutes does this give the best result? Is there often even a right choice? There appear to be many instances where first one option is taken and later the other. This may be because unanticipated downsides become apparent or changes occur in the context within the choice sits. Consider, for example, the choice between communism and capitalism or the offshoring or onshoring of economic activities.

The choice of actions itself though is only a secondary consideration. The primary choice is that of the outcomes we value. These themselves are also rarely givens.  Seeking to maximise profit is a choice. Alternatives could be to maximise employment or minimize the number of hours worked. And profit concerns only the economic dimension of our goals. Goals may be multidimensional. Additional dimensions could relate to the health of the oceans or promoting worldwide equality of life opportunity. Adopting a perspective of balance in such a complex decision making arena of multiple goals and actions where choices are not unequivocally right for all time surfaces the potential benefits of avoiding extremes, periodically reassessing decisions and ensuring you do not get locked into a course of action. Furthermore it opens the possible importance of maintaining a tension between the available options: such that one keeps the other in check and leads to innovation in both. At the current time could having both the Chinese system and the US system in competition be good for both? And would the collapse (or worse destruction) of one leave everyone worse off?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s