Consumer Sovereignty

This is not a technical term in economics. It refers to the idea that consumers ultimately determine (sometimes that they ought to determine) the goods and services that are produced, their quantities, qualities and availability in time and space. The nearest idea to it that is used in (welfare) economics is the idea of individual welfare, in which the welfare of all individuals (and not just consumers) is taken as comprising the welfare of society, but it is a vulgar error to muddle the two. It is also sometimes used to mean that consumers are the only (or possibly ought to be the only) judges of their own welfare. See Pareto Optimality.

Consumer's Surplus 69

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