Sunday, May 23, 2010


The Paradigm of Choice. A theory I first heard about in my required economics class at Michigan State. I nearly failed macroeconomics but microeconomics lit me up. It was the first time that I actually understood and enjoyed learning about numbers. Microeconomics was more about people, their behaviors and choices. I had a really great professor, too. He would teach us while not really teaching, you know? Through stories and personal observations he taught difficult theory and, of course, those damn numbers. I think I actually did some extra credit work and ended up with a 3.5. Not bad for the girl that got a 12 on the math portion of the ACT.

Maybe it's because it is top of mind for me lately but it seems that everyone, whether they know it or not, is spending more time deciding, or choosing, especially as it relates to their own personal economics. It's becoming about need versus want. Not only is it about need versus want, it's now considered 'cool' to be a saver, to be thrifty, to reuse and recycle. I find this incredible while not really all that surprising. Society is clearly dictating this groundswell.

On my own personal trip through a year of not buying anything new I've been seriously surprised at how simple it's been. The most difficult challenge I've faced so far is when it comes to gift-giving. Most of my friends and family are cool with getting used items as gifts but there are those situations where a used item just isn't appropriate. Of the 4 new items I've purchased this year 3 of them were gifts.

I've been buying used for years and with it now the cool thing to do I have to admit I do feel somewhat validated. The Paradigm of Choice has now validated my spendthrift lifestyle. I do want to buy that new $1800 Cannondale bike I rode last weekend though. Is there a Rationality of Choice theory? I need to look that up.