January 19, 2008

Markets, Markets everywhere! Cowen Highlight #2

So, since this is a class on discovering our inner economists I think the most important part of the last half of Cowen's book was that there are markets everywhere. This is so important to understand because I think many of us forget to think like economists when making decisions whether it be for consumption or not. Although I didn't find Cowen's book nearly as entertaining and interesting as Hartford’s, I really think that he had some very valuable lessons.

The point that the author makes in the last chapters about markets (even illegal or perverse ones) exist everywhere you go. There are markets for intangibles such as having a pretend girlfriend, finding a real girlfriend or boyfriend or for breaking up with a lover. There are even markets in the medical field, have you ever heard of the "disorder" medical students get while studying to become doctors and they constantly think they are sick? Why do you think there are SO many advertisements for medications on TV? Even the most personal of afflictions are publicized (I think we can all think of one). Everyday, everywhere we encounter markets even if we don’t recognize it.

Since markets consist of buyers and sellers, the best point that was made in the final chapters is to be aware and use your knowledge of markets and economics to maximize your own profits whether you are the buyer or the seller, and whether the profit is material or not. If we use our knowledge of economics we can make better decisions, waste less time, motivate others, enjoy culture, and help people who need it most (which pretty much is the title of the book).

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