Summer Reading: No One Makes You Shop at Walmart


I’m kicking off my summer reading program with No One Makes You Shop at Walmart: The Surprising Deceptions of Individual Choice by Tom Slee.

This is a book that I picked up before and was excited about because it attempts one of the most crucial tasks in making the economic case for commons. That task is to demonstrate that unrestricted individual choice can have bad effects as well as good effects. More precisely, he tries to show that there are many situations where the freedom for everyone to choose what benefits each of us best as an individual leads to total, aggregate effects that are either just bad on the face of it or much less beneficial than we could get if we all agreed to give up some individual freedom in this context and agree to be bound by a group decision.

When I looked at the book earlier I was quickly disappointed and put it down, although I don’t now remember what it was that put me off. However, Alex Tabarrok on Marginal Revolution (of all people) has given it a strong review that has persuaded me to give the book another another chance. I’ll let you know how it turns out.


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