Is The Prevalence Of Organic Foods A Market Failure?

Insightful post from Bryan Caplan.

Definitely read the entire post, it’s not long.

Market Failure: The Case of Organic Food, Bryan Caplan – EconLog: Right-leaning people typically believe that (a) markets work, and (b) organic food is a scam. I definitely fit the profile. As a result, my every trip to the grocery store inspires cognitive dissonance. Organic food isn’t merely on the shelves; it’s growing by leaps and bounds. The organic industry itself claims that sales grew from $1B in 1990 to $27B in 2010, with 7.7% sales growth in 2010. What on earth is going on? How can my cognitive dissonance be resolved?

Nevertheless, one big difference between markets and democracy remains. In democracy, if the median voter is a fool, everyone has to live under foolish policies. The great redeeming feature of markets is that anyone who figures out that, say, organic food is a waste of money can immediately stop wasting his money. This is far from a perfect system. But democracy, unlike markets, adds injury to insult. In the market, the rationalist suffers fools. In democracy, the rationalist doesn’t just suffer fools. He obeys them. Or else.