Russ Roberts was just on NPR with Barry Schwartz, the “choice is debilitating” Swarthmore psychologist. In his gentle, intellectual, nonconfrontational way, Russ spanked him. Russ’s arguments were a powerful combination of focus on the positive and focus on the core, essential point: individuals should always ask themselves “who gets to choose for me?” Although individuals do make mistakes, we develop meta-contexts to help us deal with choice (Russ mentioned indexed mutual funds) and make those tradeoffs.
Schwartz’s last comment was a classic: “The more important the decision is, the less markets should be used to make it.”
The NPR interviewer (can’t remember who it was) also did a nice job of asking the questions; he actually almost phrased the “don’t economists think that we make better decisions collectively through markets than any one individual can?” in a close-to-Hayekian way.
I’ll post the link to it when it’s up later today.
UDPATE: Here’s the link to the audio file. Thanks to Scott Johnson for leaving it in the comments.