Barry Schwartz: The way we think about work is broken
Barry Schwartz - Psychologist
Barry Schwartz studies the link between economics and psychology, offering startling insights into modern life. Lately, working with Ken Sharpe, he's studying wisdom. Full bio
and answer is this:
out of bed every morning
TED-like adventure to another?
that very question.
we have to make a living,
that that's the answer to the question,
the work we do is challenging,
it might even be important.
if we didn't get paid,
are a pretty bad reason
that he's "in it for the money,"
raises what is for me
majority of people on the planet,
has none of the characteristics
and off to the office every morning?
the majority of people on the planet
meaningless and soul-deadening?
of goods and services,
that might come from work were eliminated?
in call centers,
to do what they do except for pay.
screws people, blah blah --
the kind of technology
and that people come to TED to hear about.
the technology of things,
science creates ideas.
are ways of understanding ourselves.
on how we think, what we aspire to,
is God's will, you pray.
of your own inadequacy,
the result of oppression and domination,
is resignation or revolution,
the sources of your poverty.
in shaping us as human beings,
the most profoundly important technology
about idea technology,
from the technology of things.
will not go away
that they're true,
with these very false ideas.
created a factory system
could possibly get out of your day's work,
one of the fathers
Adam Smith --
were by their very natures lazy,
unless you made it worth their while,
by giving them rewards.
anyone ever did anything.
with that false view of human nature.
of production was in place,
for people to operate,
with Adam Smith's vision.
can create a circumstance
good help anymore."
that is demeaning and soulless.
this incredible invention
in assembly lines,
in assembly lines, he says:
possible for a human being to become."
possible for a human being to become."
what Adam Smith was telling us there,
within which people work
to the demands of that institution
from their work that we take for granted.
natural science --
theories about the cosmos,
indifferent to our theories.
we have about the cosmos.
the theories we have of human nature,
by the theories we have
and help us understand human beings.
Clifford Geertz, said, years ago,
are the "unfinished animals."
was that it is only human nature
of the society in which people live.
that is to say our human nature,
than it is discovered.
within which people live and work.
to being with masters of the universe --
yourself a question,
to run your organizations.
do you want to help design?
About the speaker:Barry Schwartz - Psychologist
Barry Schwartz studies the link between economics and psychology, offering startling insights into modern life. Lately, working with Ken Sharpe, he's studying wisdom.
Why you should listen
In his 2004 book The Paradox of Choice , Barry Schwartz tackles one of the great mysteries of modern life: Why is it that societies of great abundance — where individuals are offered more freedom and choice (personal, professional, material) than ever before — are now witnessing a near-epidemic of depression? Conventional wisdom tells us that greater choice is for the greater good, but Schwartz argues the opposite: He makes a compelling case that the abundance of choice in today's western world is actually making us miserable.
Infinite choice is paralyzing, Schwartz argues, and exhausting to the human psyche. It leads us to set unreasonably high expectations, question our choices before we even make them and blame our failures entirely on ourselves. His relatable examples, from consumer products (jeans, TVs, salad dressings) to lifestyle choices (where to live, what job to take, who and when to marry), underscore this central point: Too much choice undermines happiness.
Schwartz's previous research has addressed morality, decision-making and the varied inter-relationships between science and society. Before Paradox he published The Costs of Living, which traces the impact of free-market thinking on the explosion of consumerism -- and the effect of the new capitalism on social and cultural institutions that once operated above the market, such as medicine, sports, and the law.
Both books level serious criticism of modern western society, illuminating the under-reported psychological plagues of our time. But they also offer concrete ideas on addressing the problems, from a personal and societal level.
Barry Schwartz | Speaker | TED.com