Economic growth: inclusive, green, no-cost.

PROBLEM: Modern Markets for Some

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Marketplaces have developed spectacularly in the last 20 years for powerful institutions. That is impacting all of us.



Marking markets

Imagine you need to sell something: an old toy, a few hours of your time, meals in your restaurant, spare cash you want to lend; anything. The marketplace used to find buyers is crucial. What percentage of potential buyers use it? How much control does it give you? Whose interests does it serve? What charges are imposed? How much data does it share with you?

A few decades ago, the answers would have been similar across marketplaces for all sorts of goods and services. Globally, that’s changed with surprisingly little attention. It’s worth looking at economies, social issues and individual prospects in terms of the quality of markets involved.

Why does this matter?

  • Markets shape your life: In a capitalist society, marketplaces are our gateway to opportunity; they also determine costs and allocate resources.


  • A market’s impact for sellers is often overlooked: Cool new ways to buy stuff rarely make us rich. Economic impact comes from what a market does for sellers.


  • Bells and whistles can mislead: Fancy animations, pop-ups and intuitive navigation can make an online market feel sophisticated. But a focus on underlying structures is often revealing.


  • Powerful markets can be hidden: 41% of America’s hourly employees don’t know next week’s hours or pay. They’re just told when their employer needs them day-to-day. They are unwittingly selling their hours in a monopsony (a market with only one buyer).


In this section:

A tale of two sales: Market inequality made tangible.

Why?: How did we get here?

Consequences: What inequality of markets is doing to us.