Opportunity Cost & rise of FOMO

I wrote about opportunity cost and it dawned on me that I need to improve upon the story. Not just about the opportunities forgone but also the opportunity set. Implicit in the economics concept of opportunity cost is that you’re only have to consider the best alternative, just one.

But in this age of almost infinite choice, what is the best choice? Not to mention the best alternative. In trying to consider the choice and to “price” it against the alternative, our brains often just decides to be lazy and ask what everyone else does instead. There is less independent thinking, evaluation and decision-making.

To certain extent it is our cognitive abilities being overwhelmed but it is also us being lazy. The danger of following the crowd is that we then become afraid of missing out, which causes us to consider even more things, and lose even more bandwidth.

So the way to think about opportunity costs, might be to consider the set of opportunity that exists as alternative, and see roughly that “alright, those are what I’ve decided to miss out for this – more as an objective statement to oneself”. That is your subjective valuation of the choice you made.