EVALUATING THE MARKET MECHANISM

One of the remarkable features of the last decade has been the “rediscovery of the market. Many countries have abandoned the heavy-handed interventionism of government command and regulation for the subtle coordination of the invisible hand. Having reviewed the basic operation of competitive markets, let’s ask how well they perform. Do they deserve high grades for satisfying people’s economic needs? Is society getting many guns and much butter for a given amount of inputs? Or does the butter molten the way to the store; while the guns have crooked barrels? We will provide an overview of the efficiency of competitive markets in this chapter. Further analysis is presented in later chapters after we have discussed factor markets and the role of government.

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