Friday, May 18, 2007

No One Makes You Shop at Wal-Mart

This MR post about this “No One Makes You Shop at Wal-Mart” book is really great.

It’s interesting that every time you look deep enough on these theories around “market imperfections” you end up falling into some great, brilliant bureaucrat sitting in a desk making decisions for everybody else.

Something else that fascinates me is this idea that all these forms of herding are illogical. The fact that you buy at Wal-Mart because your neighbor does makes total sense to me. The part that is always missing in the analysis is that this is just one among many factors, and it has a subjective importance to different people. The questions should be: Would you continue to shop at Wal-Mart if you didn’t like it just because your neighbor continues to do so?

Something else that always makes me laugh is how these “managed” economic theories end up going back to morals. Something that lefties hate in the social arena. They actually have the same ideals about “going back to the good old times” that extreme conservatives have on the social issues.

People say the extremes tend to be similar but I’d argue that the idea that you can control your economy in some moral way is inevitably extremist.

The irony of the book title is almost overwhelming. Nobody really makes you shop at Wal-Mart. And the author would really like to change that.

No comments: