The name comes from the tax-collecting practices of John Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Chancellor under Henry VII.He reasoned that anyone who was living extravagantly was rich, and so could afford high taxes, whereas anyone who was living frugally had saved a lot, and so could afford high taxes.
Compare Xanatos Gambit, where this is weaponized in a specific type of plan and often used by The Chessmaster.Neurons normally generate electrochemical impulses that act on other neurons, glands, and muscles to produce human thoughts, feelings, and actions.In epilepsy, the normal pattern of neuronal activity becomes disturbed, causing strange sensations, emotions, and behavior, or sometimes convulsions, muscle spasms, and loss of consciousness.This is a lot easier today what with electronic payment systems; obviously it was much harder in Morton's day. Thomas Hobson — who lived about half a century after Morton — leased horses, and, having noticed that, given a real choice, his customers tended to pick the same horses over and over again, leaving them seriously over-used while leaving others almost completely unexercised, he had customers automatically assigned the one nearest the door rather than let them pick, so all the horses would be used and exercised equally.
The customer's choice was "Take it (the horse assigned) or leave it (don't get any horse)." A Hobson's choice is a false choice because there's only one real option if you're in need of the thing being offered.
See also Sadistic Choice, which similarly forces characters to choose between two untenable choices, except that each leads to a different undesirable outcome.