The Paradox of Self-Destructive Choices
Many pathological problems that are prevalent in modern society, such as undersaving, overborrowing, credit-card bankruptcy, and lifestyle-related diseases (obesity, smoking, drug abuse, and gambling addiction), are all closely related to the choices made by the people who constitute the society. People sometimes overborrow money in order to spend it on leisure and/or luxury items, overeat, spend indulgent times, smoke, and gamble to the point of destitution. In all of these situations, the results of the choice to engage in such behaviors have adverse effects on the individual’s future. Moreover, self-harmful behavior is not always limited to the extreme cases described above. For example, on occasion, we sometimes stay up drinking until late at night even though we have a meeting early the next morning. As another example, rather than completing an important task with an impending deadline, we often engage in trivial tasks such as cleaning our work desk, checking e-mails, and self-grooming.
KeywordsDiscount Rate Hyperbolic Discount High Discount Rate Exponential Discount Libertarian Paternalism
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