How Much Is Too Much?
Quantity undermines the quality of our engagement. Jonathan Haidt
I believe that the abundance of information and money in today’s world is too much. Our engagement in personal decision making and in politics is undermined by such abundance.
There is an abundance of information available for decision makers.
I have often said that more information equals more uncertainty. And today so much more information is available (Big Data, Info-Flux, etc) that the decision maker can be overwhelmed with the information-processing task. There are two problems with today’s abundance of information.
The first problem is that Americans tend to worship information. Craving more information when you are already drowning in it makes the desire dysfunctional. Information is food for thought but not the whole meal. There is almost always more information available than the human mind can possess or even process.
The second problem is that much of the new information is misinformation or disinformation. Misinformation is false or inaccurate information that is spread unintentionally. It is distinguished from disinformation, which is intended to mislead.
In the future it appears that the abundance of information, misinformation and disinformation will increase because of the rapid growth of technology. This will require the invention of new, creative decision making strategies to deal with it.
There is an abundance of money influencing politics.
Much is being discussed about the economic inequality today and the role of money in politics. This has included a verdict by the Supreme Court. When 1% of the population controls 34% percent of the wealth, 5% control 63%, 80% control 11%, that is a tremendous money imbalance and an inequality in political influence. There are two problems with today’s abundance of money in politics.
The first problem is that money, not information, facts, truth, discussion, collaboration or compromise is determining political decisions. This is a problem because it means the ability to influence political decisions is limited to a few.
The second problem is that money is linked to power and the Supreme Court doesn’t seem to be aware of this problem. In describing a democracy, money (of the money, for the money, by the money) has never been intended to be the determining factor in political decisions.
In the future it appears that the abundance of money influencing political decisions will continue or increase because in the Supreme Court there doesn’t seem to be an abundance of “blind justice” (impartial and objective).
Maybe I am wrong about abundance. Here is a different view of the paradox.
Too much of a good thing is wonderful. Mae West
Yes, I agree that abundance is not always good as you describe several instances of it. I would add the abundance of material “things” to make our lives supposedly better and happier, I think is a problem in our society. Those toys or material goods often become more important to have than is the importance of supporting social needs of those in our society that cannot care adequately for themselves. Abundance of love, joy and peace of mind can never be too much. Having material goods might bring momentary joy (until they don’t work) but not love or peace of mind.