(I recently learned about Oxford comma, hence the title)
Malcolm walked into a grocery store in hope to find a decent spaghetti sauce. they only had one brand, which Malcolm didn’t like. You see, when there’s a single option – you either take it or not take it. it’s that simple as your spectrum is binary. So he went to another store that not only had several brands available – they also had free samplings. So he checked a few and eventually decided on the brand he like the most. Because when there are option, you would pick the one you like the most. it makes sense.
Dan, however, walks to a jeans store. there’s a variety of jeans he could pick from. But there wasn’t a single brand he particularly liked so the threshold of making the purchase is higher for him. It was very frustrating for him. Eventually he gave up and left. On his way home he found another store that, fortunate for him, had only one model at his size. And he liked it so he picked it.
I read an interesting comics regarding different relations people might have beyond the classical 2-humans that might or might now be with other people. Sure, why not a trio? or a small commune with no particular coupling within it, and it made me wonder if the new available relationship models are a good thing, like Malcolm’s case or bad, like Dan’s story.
First, it’s important to note that “not buying” a product, or “not being” in relationship is a valid option, although for Dan, Malcolm and traditional society would consider this as “lose”. Modern-day society will be far more forgiving and accepting people who, for their own reasons, don’t want spaghetti sauce at all. it’s not the end of the world. You can try one sauce. You can try some. I think you should try, but it’s perfectly ok to say “no,spaghetti sauces are not for me, not matter how much water you added”.
Malcolm dealt with this narrative: there are so and so companies selling sauces. A single company wanted to expand its market share. it first tried to find the ultimate sauce that most people would like but eventually decided to fragmentise the market so everyone could buy the tomato sauce they like – from that particular company. So if their market share before was 50%, now it’s 70%. But did the market actually grow? Did these additional 20% didn’t buy tomato sauce at all before?
Maybe the reason for the increase wasn’t really more people enjoying spaghetti sauce – rather then Dan’s paradigm in which a customer couldn’t decide which company’s mushroom-flavoured spaghetti sauce he should buy so he ultimately gave up. This means that introducing the models didn’t increase the market – rather than by killing the competition reduced the market!
With the introduction of new relationship-types, by how much did the market expand? I don’t think that by much, (pseudo-) monogamous relationship were quite a mainstream to begin with, although if you ask about their happiness or well-being that’s a completely different game. Yes, I strongly believe the new options allowed more people to find happiness and I doubt the new options overwhelmed anyone from choosing his lifetime partners. Personally, I’m all in favour for not settling only one the single couple-relationship, rather than rebuilding the concept of community (aka village) we once had as I believe the social safety net a community can provide is better than a single spouse can provide, but I admit that this doesn’t necessarily means that individuals are less likely to stay alone – not only out of choice, but also because they still cannot find the right relationship that is good for them.