consumer choice


Posted by on March 1st, 2019 | 0 comments | gapfill, IELTS, sample answer, Task 1, writing

Before you attempt to fill the gaps, discuss the following with a partner.

  • Which FIPCAs might be appropriate in this essay?
  • If your FIPCAs differ from your partner’s reach a decision about whose FIPCAs are most appropriate?
  • What are the criteria for a good FIPCA in IELTS Task 2 Writing?
  • Is it possible to have too much choice?
  • Is ‘choice’ countable or uncountable?
  • Three words / expressions in this essay were taken from passages in today’s IELTS reading practice test (one from each passage). Can you identify them?

Never before have people had the luxury of so much choice, either in terms of lifestyle, work, domicile, or goods and services. Is it possible to have too much choice? Most people would probably agree that you can never have too much choice. However, there are definitely situations in which an excess of choice can be a bad thing, as follows.

First of all people in capitalist countries are aware of the lack of consumer choice available to their counterparts in communist countries, especially during the soviet era. Nobody would like to see a return to a situation in which they have to queue for hours at the same shop to buy a sack of potatoes only to find that there are none left. However, the amount and variety of goods available in advanced industrialised countries today comes at a cost, both to ourselves and to our environment. For example, although they do well to guarantee variety and a steady supply, manufacturers often fail to consider the impact of food and other products either in terms of their direct health effects, or the more general damage caused by packaging and distribution.

It is also true that the choice offered by capitalism occurs hand in hand with certain individual freedoms and with freedom of expression. This is particularly clear to see in much modern art and music. However, when freedom is restricted, even minimally, people are then forced to find creative ways to cope with this lack of freedom. They are also often brought together in some kind of shared struggle, and this can lead to the formation and strengthening of communities and social bonds. In the arts, the limiting of options implied by the law of perspective used by Leonardo Da Vinci, and sonata form in classical music, both resulted in vast repertoires of art that have left a rich cultural heritage.

In conclusion, too much choice can result in a kind of overload that ironically leaves the chooser unable to choose. Whether we are shopping or creating art, a lack of choice can actually make life easier and potentially more interesting. Cultures of want and of plenty seem diametrically opposed, but perhaps there is some middle ground where a lack of choice can be tolerated for the good of society.

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