Tyranny of Small Decisions

I saw an ad by Amazon hosting job interviews for Nigerian engineers who wish to relocate to the US, Canada, or Ireland. Brought to my mind this thing called the Tyranny of Small Decisions.

Basically, multiple actors within a system make favorable decisions for themselves within their local context. But the combination of those seemingly favorable decisions by each of those actors results in catastrophe for everyone on a bigger scale.

A simple example is everyone would like to own a car. But if everyone starts buying cars, the roads become clogged with more traffic and driving becomes unbearable.

You can’t blame these actors for making these decisions though. They have no choice but to make the best decisions for themselves in their respective contexts. Plus human nature is by default selfish; nothing particularly wrong with that. But the truth is, we are all making these small and selfish decisions.

From the political elite who consistently loot the country for their personal gain; to the thousands of brilliant people (doctors, engineers, programmers, etc) who have decided to emigrate from the country; we are all making selfish decisions. The combination of these selfish decisions has resulted in the catastrophic state of our country today.

The Amazon job interview ad brought all these thoughts to my mind. Of course, Amazon will host the job interviews; our best and brightest programmers will apply to participate. The best of the best will be selected and relocate to more developed countries where their lives will change for the better and they will make good money. And who can blame them??

Large swathes of our people are emigrating. Our most brilliant doctors are saving lives in developed countries, while people back home are dying of subpar healthcare. Our brightest minds work in developed countries, apply skills and ideas and make their businesses more prosperous, while businesses back home are struggling to find talent. Our people spend money in developed economies and patronize their businesses to become more prosperous, while businesses back home are suffering because consumer spending is low.

Tyranny of Small Decisions!!!

What’s the solution? Perhaps more concerted efforts directed toward bettering the common good. I don’t think we can rely on politicians. They lack the depth or will. Simply put, they do not have the gravitas. Sure, Peter Obi offers a ray of hope, he seems like a good man; but he alone cannot fix Nigeria even if he becomes president. Fixing the country is our collective responsibility. We have to put in the effort, each of us in our own little way. The effort must be deliberate, and concerted. It’s not by magic, it’s not by wishful thinking. It’s work, hard work. And we have to do it, no one is coming to do it for us. Else, we can all take the easier route and keep making our selfish decisions while we hope for the best 🙂