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The Tyranny of the Market: Why You Can't Always Get What You Want

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Economists have long counseled reliance on markets rather than on government to decide a wide range of questions, in part because allocation through voting can give rise to a "tyranny of the majority." Markets, by contrast, are believed to make products available to suit any individual, regardless of what others want. But the argument is not generally correct. In markets, Economists have long counseled reliance on markets rather than on government to decide a wide range of questions, in part because allocation through voting can give rise to a "tyranny of the majority." Markets, by contrast, are believed to make products available to suit any individual, regardless of what others want. But the argument is not generally correct. In markets, you can't always get what you want. This book explores why this is so and its consequences for consumers with atypical preferences. When fixed costs are substantial, markets provide only products desired by large concentrations of people. As a result, people are better off in their capacity as consumers when more fellow consumers share their product preferences. Small groups of consumers with less prevalent tastes, such as blacks, Hispanics, people with rare diseases, and people living in remote areas, find less satisfaction in markets. In some cases, an actual tyranny of the majority occurs in product markets. A single product can suit one group or another. If one group is larger, the product is targeted to the larger group, making them better off and others worse off. The book illustrates these phenomena with evidence from a variety of industries such as restaurants, air travel, pharmaceuticals, and the media, including radio broadcasting, newspapers, television, bookstores, libraries, and the Internet.


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Economists have long counseled reliance on markets rather than on government to decide a wide range of questions, in part because allocation through voting can give rise to a "tyranny of the majority." Markets, by contrast, are believed to make products available to suit any individual, regardless of what others want. But the argument is not generally correct. In markets, Economists have long counseled reliance on markets rather than on government to decide a wide range of questions, in part because allocation through voting can give rise to a "tyranny of the majority." Markets, by contrast, are believed to make products available to suit any individual, regardless of what others want. But the argument is not generally correct. In markets, you can't always get what you want. This book explores why this is so and its consequences for consumers with atypical preferences. When fixed costs are substantial, markets provide only products desired by large concentrations of people. As a result, people are better off in their capacity as consumers when more fellow consumers share their product preferences. Small groups of consumers with less prevalent tastes, such as blacks, Hispanics, people with rare diseases, and people living in remote areas, find less satisfaction in markets. In some cases, an actual tyranny of the majority occurs in product markets. A single product can suit one group or another. If one group is larger, the product is targeted to the larger group, making them better off and others worse off. The book illustrates these phenomena with evidence from a variety of industries such as restaurants, air travel, pharmaceuticals, and the media, including radio broadcasting, newspapers, television, bookstores, libraries, and the Internet.

38 review for The Tyranny of the Market: Why You Can't Always Get What You Want

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lodyk Vovchak

    Книжка могла би бути меншою за обсягом. Трохи набридлива манера, притаманна англомовній не вигаданій літературі, повторювати думку по 20-30 разів. Таким чином чотири чи п'ять основних тез можна розтягнути на велику книжку, яку читаєш просто щоб закінчити почате і не пропустити нічого. Загалом книжка корисна для розуміння ролі вільних ринків і урядового втручання для добробуту суспільства. Особливо чітко це видно в останніх розділах, які, повторюсь як англомовні письменники жанру не вигаданої літе Книжка могла би бути меншою за обсягом. Трохи набридлива манера, притаманна англомовній не вигаданій літературі, повторювати думку по 20-30 разів. Таким чином чотири чи п'ять основних тез можна розтягнути на велику книжку, яку читаєш просто щоб закінчити почате і не пропустити нічого. Загалом книжка корисна для розуміння ролі вільних ринків і урядового втручання для добробуту суспільства. Особливо чітко це видно в останніх розділах, які, повторюсь як англомовні письменники жанру не вигаданої літератури, я міг і не прочитати, бо знудився читати по кільканадцять разів тези перших розділів. Через вже згадані втовкмачування автором "знань" читання книжки затягнулось на більше ніж рік, з прочитанням безлічі цікавіших книжок водночасі. Попри повтори і розтягування книжка досить цікавими прикладами підкріплює свої тези і загалом корисна. Має бути у всіх політиків аби прищепити їм розуміння їхнього місця в суспільстві.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Wm

    I'm no economist so I don't know where the gaps are. But from what I can tell it definitely deserves four stars. What Waldfogel does is to use data as well as some simple illustrative theoretical examples to show how the "tyranny of the majority" can operate in markets just like it can operate in democracy. Which means there is no magical absolute of the markets being able to sort everything out --or-- the government can sort everything out. To quote from the very end: "The correct balance betwee I'm no economist so I don't know where the gaps are. But from what I can tell it definitely deserves four stars. What Waldfogel does is to use data as well as some simple illustrative theoretical examples to show how the "tyranny of the majority" can operate in markets just like it can operate in democracy. Which means there is no magical absolute of the markets being able to sort everything out --or-- the government can sort everything out. To quote from the very end: "The correct balance between free markets and intervention depends on the magnitude of the shortcomings of the market, in relation to the shortcomings of government interventions, for the specific industry in question. In short, there are no pat answers. But a society needs to discuss the shortcomings of market allocation honestly -- and with evidence -- when choosing whether to let the market decide. By presenting evidence in this book on how some real-world markets function, I hope to stimulate a more balanced discourse on public policy in this area."

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Not bad at all, but somewhat longer than is necessary to get the idea across.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Carlo Artieri

  5. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

  6. 4 out of 5

    Marie

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jurij

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dmitry Rizdvanetsky

  9. 4 out of 5

    Todd

  10. 5 out of 5

    Anna Lebedieva

  11. 5 out of 5

    Chad Williamson

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brian

  13. 5 out of 5

    Grey Nutter

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chongkai

  15. 4 out of 5

    Serhii Chudovskyi

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nadia Chervinska

  17. 5 out of 5

    Valik

  18. 4 out of 5

    Olexandr Demura

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anneke

  20. 5 out of 5

    Viorika Moruz

  21. 5 out of 5

    Katia Belobrova

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

  23. 4 out of 5

    Erwin

  24. 5 out of 5

    Hcovitz

  25. 4 out of 5

    Geralyn

  26. 4 out of 5

    Josh

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mattnibbelink

  28. 5 out of 5

    Semi

  29. 5 out of 5

    Gábor

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

  31. 4 out of 5

    Casey Hurt

  32. 4 out of 5

    Colby

  33. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

  34. 5 out of 5

    Adalberto

  35. 5 out of 5

    Camiel

  36. 5 out of 5

    Jorge

  37. 5 out of 5

    Paul

  38. 5 out of 5

    Tyler

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