Car buyers typically display decision fatigue when asked to choose among “4 styles of gearshift knobs, 13 kinds of wheel rims, 25 configurations of the engine and gearbox and a palette of 56 colors for the interior.” Too worn out to choose, they take the default option.
And now, trying to figure out what to share from Fragile By Design: The Political Origins of Banking Crises and Scarce Credit, I too have what a behavioral economist would call decision fatigue. For banking history, global banking comparisons and insight about monetary politics, in 500+ pages, the book provides a wealth of information.
Since I could not select a topic, my default is several of the many wonderful quotes from the book:
- “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.” (George Bernard Shaw, 1944)
- “The genius of the Americans is that you never make clear-cut stupid moves, only complicated stupid moves which make us wonder at the possibility that there may be something to them that we are missing.” (Gamal Abdel Nasser, 1957)
- “If stupidity got us into this mess, why can’t it get us out?” (Will Rogers)
- “We are neither of the left, nor of the right, but entirely the opposite.” (Cantinflas, Mexican comedian, making fun of Mexican president Louis Echeverria Alvarez)
- “Science is built up with facts, as a house is built with stones. But a collection of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones a house.” (Jules Henri Poincaré, La science et l’hypothese, 1908)
- “To undo…requires more enterprise and vigor…then not to do…This is particularly true where a number of wills is to concur…” (Alexander Hamilton, Report of the Secretary of the Treasury, 1795)
- “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” (George Bernard Shaw, 1903)
Sources and Resources: For an hour-long summary of Fragile By Design, I recommend this econtalk discussion among Russ Roberts, Stephen Haber and Charles Calomiris while this Foreign Affairs article has a briefer summary. Also, in this econlife post, here is more on decision fatigue and the source of some of the above content.
In Fragile by Design, quotes are from: pp. 60, 203, 256, 366, 451, 502, 566.