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5 Examples of the Tyranny Of Small Decisions

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The tyranny of small decisions is a negative global impact created by seemingly rational or harmless local decisions. This implies that government plays a role in shaping the global result as individuals can't always be expected to see inadvertent consequences of seemingly rational choices.


A lifestyle shift whereby people begin living at great distance from work such that traffic and pollution may increase.
Overconsumption of a popular sushi dish that causes the extinction of a species.
Choosing the cheapest and most tasty foods on the shelves. This gives producers incentives to add sugar to products and to use cheap commodity ingredients, fillers and additives.
Choosing the cheapest flight without regard to the quality of the airline. This gives airlines no incentives to improve their service or safety.
Never reading terms of service and always agreeing to whatever is said in an agreement. It is a practical reality that life is too short to be reading every legal agreement associated with every mobile app you use. As such, the government plays a role in making sure these agreements are fair.
Overview: Tyranny Of Small Decisions
Small decisions that appear rational at the local level but that collectively have a negative global impact.
Related Techniques
Next: Think Global Act Local
More about sustainable economics:
Cascading Failure
Circular Economy
Dollar Voting
Economic Bad
Economic Security
Food Sovereignty
Happiness Economics
Happiness Index
Jevons Paradox
Land Footprint
Market Failure
Missing Market
Moral Hazard
Point Of No Return
Quality Of Life
Race To The Bottom
Uneconomic Growth
Water Security
More ...
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