Cover: The Tyranny of the Market: Why You Can’t Always Get What You Want, from Harvard University PressCover: The Tyranny of the Market in HARDCOVER

The Tyranny of the Market

Why You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Add to Cart

Product Details

HARDCOVER

$49.00 • £39.95 • €44.00

ISBN 9780674025813

Publication Date: 10/15/2007

Short

216 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

5 line illustrations, 6 tables

World

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.

Recent News

From Our Blog

Harvard University Press sign

Everybody Has to Start Somewhere

To honor the memory of Mark Saunders, Director of the University of Virginia Press, who passed away recently, the Association of University Presses asked member presses to feature blog posts about those in university press publishing who have made a difference through their passion, curiosity, and generosity. Harvard University Press Managing Editor Christine Thorsteinsson shares her experience

‘manifold glories of classical Greek and Latin’

The digital Loeb Classical Library (loebclassics.com) extends the founding mission of James Loeb with an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature.