Soc – Fourth Student

The fourth student likes the ideas that, First, “participatory consumers must weigh the benefits of consumption requests against the sacrifices required to produce them.” Second, “participatory consumers must distinguish reasonable consumption requests from ones that are excessive or overly modest” (Albert 123). The first is what really caught my attention, so given that preferences are neither fixed nor entirely internal to the individual—“real people’s preferences arise in social interaction” (Albert 125)—my question is, what would be an effective institutional design to achieve this end.

Fair enough… But then the student adds…

> His participatory councils, regardless of how nested they may be, sound hopelessly inefficient.

No reason is given…no response to the book’s dealing with such concerns in many places is offered. So I have to reply…why does the student ignore the text being discussed? I have this query throughout, regrettably…

Then the student says:

>So, within a market system:

So, with that one phrase about inefficiency above – “hopelessly inefficient” (not even clear at what) — the student has returned to markets despite their being horrible in establishing wrong valuations, compelling anti social behavior, imposing class division and rule, and so on.

And the student asks: “How can consumers receive accurate information about the sacrifices required to produce a good?” in a market system.

In a market system the incentives and motives operate in the opposite direction. Only ameliorative reforms can help…

> What incentives can we create to encourage the self-interested consumer to take into account the costs of these sacrifices (in markets)? How can we tap into the normative structures that make normal people avoid acting with cruelty in face-to-face interactive (in markets)?

How can we make a tree fly – is not too different than how can we make market buyers and sellers behave in accord with respecting the conditions of others. Why does the student feel it is okay to ignore – rather than make a case against – the critique of markets in the book, I wonder.

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