Out of Control Policy Blog

Market Democracy in Action

    Wal-Mart Stores Inc's German unit will close an additional 3 stores and drop its presence in the country to its lowest level since Wal-mart entered the German retail market in 1997/98, according to a report in Financial Times Deutschland.

Article here.

Assuming the store closures are the result of lack of patronage, here's an example of the democracy of the market at work. When Wal-Mart wants to open a store in a particular community there's often endless debate over whether the community wants Wal-Mart. The market test is the best way to figure out the true will of the people, as each day shoppers vote for or against the biggest box with their dollars. How's that for participatory democracy?

Market democracy also avoids some of the "tyranny of the majority" problems that arise when the issue is decided with a vote of the public. Why should 51 percent of voters tell the other 49 percent where they can shop? In the marketplace no business has to please everybody or even a majority of people. It just has to please enough customers to stay in business.

Related: Germans find romance at "Luv-Mart."

Ted Balaker is Producer


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