Ebay teaches me some economics.

Ebay teaches me some economics.

Him: Do you want to put a ‘ buy it now ‘ price on the e-reader?

Me: I am not sure what price to put

Him: I’d be happy to give you £20 to save you time.

Me: Let me think about it,  cheers.

I sat back and started to think. What is the value of my old e-reader? Should I go with this offer of quick and ready money or should I wait? how much is it worth, I don’t need it any more it is just collecting dust. It is not long until Xmas, do they go up in price in anticipation of becoming prrsents, or do they drop when everyone upgrades courtesy of Santa? New readers are on the market has this dropped prices? On the other hand if I don’t sell it, it will just lie depreciating.

Then I remembered the Austrian economists. It is the free market which allows us to know the value is things. It is the absence of the market which causes problems for, so called, planned economies.

I could look at prior auction results and see the prices realized. I could check other small ads and ask around. Or I could just trust to the market and let the listing run, let the market decide.

I waited and watched as the number of watchers slowly increased and the number of bids likewise. The market did is work and the price that pleased both the buyer and myself was found.

For interest I checked what we agreed and discovered it was very similar to other prices agreed. The same result in Europe and America, the same through Ebay and on comparable sites. With very little work on my part we had agreed on the right price. As I had read before the best way to discover value and to have the best information was to trust to the market.

Similarly the gentleman who wanted the “Buy it now” option also knew this. He hoped that by avoiding the market I might remain ignorant and that he could take advantage of this. I am glad I did not.

P.S. The e-reader went for five times the suggested price by my helpful friend.