The Problem with Specialization

A major concept I taught in 6th grade ancient history was about how specialization led to the development of civilizations away from small hunter/gatherer communities.  I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, especially after spending hours and hours of my free time researching mortgages and even my upcoming trip to Italy!  I could have trusted a mortgage broker, bought a travel guide, or used a travel agent, but a main symptom of FOMA is not trusting other people to do what they specialize in, mostly because they have incentives to act in a way that is not necessarily in my best interest (in the case of mortgages) or because I think that I can meet my needs better than anyone else (in the case of my vacation planning).  So, even when I do outsource work, I still feel the need to do all my own research.

This is where capitalism fails for me and communism becomes appealing.  Instead of having hundreds of potential bank options for my mortgage, I want a government regulated, flat fee system where a person with my combination of downpayment, credit score, debt, and income can get a mortgage for a set amount with set terms.  I guess there isn’t really a great government-sponsored option for vacation planning, but maybe 1 massive government-fact-checked website where you can put in all your vacations desires and it spits out an itinerary for you.  I know that sounds like a travel agent, but really, how do travel agents make money if they don’t get kickbacks and how do they know the best cheese shop in Norcia, Italy?

There have also been a bunch of books and articles published lately about how having more choices doesn’t lead to more happiness and how at some point, more choices decrease your happiness.  This is definitely true for me because the more choices there are, the more time I feel compelled to spend comparing my choices.  I do love making spreadsheets, but my pleasure from using spreadsheets is inversely proportional to the number of rows and columns that are beyond what I can view on a single screen.

I’m pretty sure the DSM-V is going to include something about FOMA.

The good news is I’m done with mortgage shopping (closed on our house!) and am headed to Italy on Saturday, so there’s no more time to plan.  So, keep your eye on the Yummy Things sections for some delicious posts 🙂

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