As our institutions acquire growing amounts of data about what best suits people in their different situations, a lot of us might well become increasingly willing, even eager to choose not to choose. When is that a mistake? The answer depends mostly on two crucial factors: whether it is a big bother or instead interesting and fun to make a choice; and whether people are likely to be better or worse off if they make decisions on their own. If the question involves mystery novels, vacation spots, religious affiliations, political candidates, or romantic partners, most of us would do best to make active choices. But if the question involves computer settings, retirement plans, mortgages, or health insurance, good default rules can be a blessing, even an act of mercy, for a lot of us.
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