Introductions to economics usually start with gushing tales about the magic of the free market. It is usually stated that the free market allows everyone to get the best quality goods at the cheapest prices. The magical invisible hand guides everyone to the best place without any unnecessary government intervention. Below is a link to a video typical of the kind. (I’ll ignore for the moment that it completely misrepresents what Adam Smith said). Its short and simple, but it is a simple argument. This is the typical free market argument with its claim that left alone it will bring the best world for everyone.
On this blog I have discussed a lot of economic theories and ideas. I wrote about many flaws in the market, problems of competition, the need for the government etc. But all of that is hypothetical so I decided to use some practical examples. Over the next couple of posts I will apply economic theory to different parts of the economy. It’s not going to be a rigorous examination, more just things I notice during the day. I’m a firm believer in the relevance of economics and that it must be based on the real world. The best way to test a theory is to see how it matches the real world. Continue reading “Applying Economics To Bacon”
For the free market to work it is assumed that everyone knows everything, or at least everything they need to know. However the world is full of things we know nothing about. This is the problem of asymmetric information, where one person knows more than the other. This creates many problems which hamper the operation of the free market and prevent it from reaching the perfect equilibrium. Continue reading “What We Don’t Know”
There is a problem with the free market and consumerism. You see, it is based upon increasing sales as much as possible. As soon as you sell something you want that same person to buy another product from you. You could do this by competing on price or quality, or you could build the product such that it either breaks down or goes out of fashion very soon. This process, known as Planned Obsolescence, is rarely discussed but quite logical and sensible. Continue reading “Built To Break”