Barry Schwartz explores the social and psychological effects of free-market economic institutions on moral, social, and civic concerns. In his book, The Costs of Living: How Market Freedom Erodes the Best Things in Life, Schwartz finds that market values undermine morals and community-building.
His more recent work, The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less is More, examines the often-paralyzing effects on consumers of a marketplace offering a bewildering array of choices. He explains at what point choice (the hallmark of individual freedom and self-determination that we so cherish) becomes detrimental to our psychological and emotional well-being.
In accessible, engaging, and anecdotal prose, Schwartz shows how the dramatic explosion in choice – from the mundane to the profound challenges of balancing career, family, and individual needs – has paradoxically become a problem instead of a solution. By synthesizing current research in the social sciences, Schwartz makes the counter-intuitive case that eliminating choices can greatly reduce the stress, anxiety, and busyness of our lives.
Schwartz, who received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1971, has been awarded several grants by the National Science Foundation over the last three decades. In addition, he is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and the American Psychological Society, and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association.