If the Shoe Doesn't Fit
Blame the tyranny of the market.
When you're not so lucky, you benefit when the government steps in on your behalf, with subsidies for research on drugs for rare diseases or for air service to small locales. For a generation, influential economists have argued for letting the market decide a wide array of questions, to protect your freedom to choose whatever you want. This is true—if everyone agrees with you.
Joel Waldfogel is the Ehrenkranz Family Professor of business and public policy at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His new book is The Tyranny of the Market: Why You Can't Always Get What You Want.
Photograph of new Nike shoe by Don Ryan/AP.