Why Popcorn Costs So Much at the Movies
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Om Why Popcorn Costs So Much at the Movies
* How Prices Matter rices are ubiquitous, so much so that their importance to the smooth operation of a market economy (even one constrained by extensive polit- P ical controls as is the case in China) can go unnoticed and unheralded. Prices are what all trades, whether at the local mall or across the globe, are built around. Tey facilitate trades among buyers and sellers who don't know each other, meaning they make less costly, or more socially benefcial, the allocation and redistribution of the planet's scarce resources. Indeed, as the late Friedrich Hayek is renowned for having observed, prices summarize a vast amount of - formation on the relative scarcity and, hence, the relative cost of resources (with much of the information subjective in nature) that can be known only by ind-i viduals scattered across markets and cannot be collected in centralized loc- tions, except through market-determined prices. 1 Because they summarize, and largely hide from view of buyers, so much i- formation spread among people throughout the world, prices can be puzzling. Why prices are what they are, and change for reasons that are obscured by a multitude of economic events that can extend backward in time and forward into the future, can be mysterious. Explaining many puzzling prices can be - tective work that the modern-day Sherlock Holmes would surely fnd challenging.