Talk:Rivalry (economics)

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Rivalrous equals Scarce?[edit]

The paragraph beginning "Non-rivalrous goods are not scarce from the point of view of the individual, but are typically scarce from a social perspective" seems slightly off to me. In what may seem like a minor quibble, it seems to me that it is the resources for producing, maintaining or improving the good that are scarce, not the good itself.

To use the example of this Wikipedia, it could be be bigger or better given extra resources but is what currently exists scarce in the economics meaning of the term? In the scarcity article the following definition is given: "a good is scarce if people would consume more of it if it were free." By this definition the Wikipedia can never be scarce.

In the Free rider article, non- or under-production of a public good is mentioned as a common problem. Are these under-produced public goods then scarce or is there a different term for lack of goods whose production needs an allocation of scarce resources but once complete can be duplicated/enjoyed by all with ease?

Can the confusion be cleared up simply by emphasising that (non-)rivalrousness is a continuum and that beautiful views and good policing are scarcer in some localities than in others? Or is this just a gap in economics created by too tight a focus on rivalrous goods and scarcity?

DavidScotson 19:55, 2 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I'd agree totally, except that I wrote that "Non-rivalrous goods are not scarce from the point of view of the individual, but are typically scarce from a social perspective." That "typically" is a weasel-word, but it suggests that there may be some goods that aren't scarce (such as the Wikipedia). I'll clarify the text.

On the third problem, I guess the term for an "under-produced public goods" would be those public goods which aren't very important to people, so that no-one has done anything about the failure of private initiative to produce them.

Too much focus on scarcity? maybe. Some earlier author suggested that public goods aren't scarce. I added my clarifying point about them not being scarce _from the point of view of the individual_ -- but that they may be scarce from another perspective. Jdevine 22:01, 2 Aug 2004 (UTC)

economic goods[edit]

should this page be changed into economic goods? it talks mostly about rival and nonrival goods. so why should it be called rivolous? it also makes sense calling it economic goods. what do u8 guys think?

common cold is a good?[edit]

From the article: "Nonrival, tangible objects include a beautiful scenic view or the common cold." First, I assume 'objects' in that sentence means 'goods'. Probably it should just say 'goods'. Second, is the common cold actually considered an 'object/good'? I understand the point of the example, but perhaps there's something else that can be used in the example to serve the same purpose that is more obviously a good than 'common cold'.

Bjpremore 14:51, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

I have an issue with that sentence as well. Scenic views being considered non-rival. Space to see that certain view is limited and more often than not, you pay a premium for that view. I suppose you could say that the view itself is nonrival, but the space to view it is rivalrous. --Chicbicyclist 11:59, 29 October 2006 (UTC)


I agree with Bjpremore, the examples used (common cold and scenic view) are not particularly helpful; if anything, they confuse the issue. I do not think that I understand the concept well enough to offer alternative examples. Also, the example of Television is not very good either. Clearly, a television is a rival good - two people cannot watch different programs on the same set at the same time. I think the example means television programbut it is not clear; maybe a different example could be used for clarity's sake? 17:50, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

What exactly defines a "mainstream" economist —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cndrblw26 (talkcontribs) 03:54, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

Need an expert[edit]

How is national defense different from national health care when it comes to being excludable? Same for national education. USchick (talk) 23:59, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

Intellectual property[edit]

A recent change added "intellectual property" as a rivalrous good; however, copyrights and patents are necessarily and inherently mechanisms to apply scarcity to non-rivalrous goods. I will remove this change once; please comment with rationale if you disagree. chrylis (talk) 00:34, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

I disagree. It's not the IP that is non-scarce, but the reproduction that is. The IP itself is theoretically unique. The legal protections to IP are just the possible approximations adequate to the nature of this type of good. The rivalry of IP is evident when you consider that the more the market is saturated by sellers of a given IP, such as a book or a movie, the smaller is the potential profit for each seller. It's not unlike someone actually stealing a production of physical goods and selling entirely for their own profit. That's why laws protecting intellectual property were devised, effectively creating the viability of such market, visibly fostering intellectual and technological progress. We can always imagine that there could be some holistic effect in the end without a market, but so is the case with full-blown communism or mutualism of physical goods. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:22, 30 August 2016 (UTC)

Updated Definition to Reflect Continuous Nature of Rivarly[edit]

Following on recent advances in economic theory, the entry was updated and the number of supporting references has been quadrupled. The entry has not been revised beyond the first paragraph due to other commitments. Further work will be necessary to weed out unsupported claims and streamline the remaining. Thanks to everybody involved. Sslevine (talk) 22:04, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

Value is subjective[edit]

The article says:

In fact, certain types of intellectual property become more valuable as more people consume them (anti-rival). For example, the more people using a particular language, the more valuable that language becomes.

This is incorrect, since value is subjective. As it's written, this is an attempt to say that the objective value of a language is in its ease of use with as many people as possible, and that this is true for that entire type of intellectual property. An easy counterexample would be a code, where the value of it to its creators and users is that it isn't widely known. There are also people who don't hope that their non-code language spreads beyond their tribe or ethnic group.

Since value is subjective, there is no type of intellectual property that implies any objective values. —Olathe (talk) 13:32, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

Rival or rivalrous goods?[edit]

I have mostly been seeing "rival goods" and not "rivalrous goods". A quick search on Ngram [1] confirms my impression: in the year 2000 for instance, the expression "rival good" has been used six times more than "rivalrous good". A quick search in dictionaries seems to indicate that "rivalrous" would be more adequate however (for instance in Merriam Webster, "rivalrous" is defined as "given to rivalry"). Any ideas? Rdavout (talk) 13:14, 11 April 2015 (UTC)