Business Economics by Roger Perman, John Scouller

By Roger Perman, John Scouller

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We explained in our introduction to this chapter that perfect competition is an analytical model which has been developed in order to gain some insight into the competitive process. As such it is not meant to be a description of any particular industry and it is not meant to be 'realistic'. Nevertheless you might ask whether there are industries which at least approximate to the model we have outlined. One could begin to answer this question by looking for industries consisting of a large number of firms.

There is only one firm in the industry. The firm and the industry are therefore synonymous. There are no rivals for the firm to worry about. The demand curve facing the firm is thus the downward-sloping market 44 45 demand curve for the firm's product. The term monopoly means single seller. 2. There are no close substitutes available for the monopolist's product. There are, of course, ultimately substitutes for most things so we are not saying that there are no substitutes but that the substitutes available are not close.

Taking this argument a stage further, a resource input theory of value can lead to the unreasonable conclusion that a good can have value even when no one wants it. A well-known example of this concerns the chronic excess production of some goods that plagued the USSR planning system. In the absence of a price mechanism, output decisions were based upon production targets set by the planning apparatus. Large differences emerged between the patterns of actual and desired output of consumer goods.

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