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1.The total utility of water -its role as a necessity of life -is indeed much higher than that of diamonds.But price,as we have seen, is not related directly to total utility. Rather, the optimal purchase rule tells us that price tends to equal marginal utility. 2. Given normal condition ,water is... 顯示更多 1.The total utility of water -its role as a necessity of life -is indeed much
higher than that of diamonds.But price,as we have seen, is not related
directly to total utility. Rather, the optimal purchase rule tells us that
price tends to equal marginal utility.
2.
Given normal condition ,water is comparatively cheap to provide ,so its price is generally quite low . Consumers thus use correspondingly large quantities of water.The principle of diminishing marginal utility,
therefore, pushes down the marginal utility of water for a typical
household to a low level .As the consumer's surplus diagram suggests,
this also means that its total utility is likely to be high .
3.
In contrast , high-quality diamonds are scarce (partly because a
monopoly keeps them so).As a result, quantity of diamonds consumed
is not large enough to drive down the MU of diamonds very far, so
buyers of such luxuries must pay high prices for them. As a commodity
becomes more scarce, its marginal utiliy and its market price rise,
regardless of the size of its total utility .Also as we have seen,because
so little of the commodity is consumed , its totle utility is likely to be
comparatively low , despite its large marginal utility .
4.
Thus, like many paradoxes, the diamond -water puzzle has a
straightforward explanation. In this case, all one has to remember is
that: Scarcity raises price and marginal utility , but it generally reduces
total utility. And although total utility measures the benefits consumers
get from there consumption , it is marginal utility that is equal
(approximately)to price.

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