Economic markets are often defended on the grounds that they are the most effective mechanism we have for satisfying the desires of consumers. This defence can apparently be undercut by pointing out that markets often generate the desires that they then proceed to fulfil. The chapter explores different ways in which people's wants can be less than optimal from the point of view of their welfare, and concludes that attempts to intervene politically to prevent this happening are unlikely to succeed. The claim that production should respond to needs rather than wants is also considered.
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