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The Fallacy of Composition

The Big Idea for Tuesday, November 12, 2013

One cannot infer that something is true of the whole from the fact that is is true of one part of the whole. 

In today's lesson, Jag Bhalla applies the fallacy of composition to the pop logic of free markets. He writes, "Claims about free markets can be a world-threateningly serious example. The idea that markets composed of voluntary, so assumed to be desirable, and locally “rational” decisions aggregate to “rational” and desirable outcomes is empirically false."

Therefore, Bhalla concludes that real lovers of real markets must deal with their ills: "Without the medicine of regulation or taxation, however distasteful, their beloved markets can’t thrive."


  1. 1 Market Lovers Commit The Fallacy of Composition
    Jag Bhalla Errors We Live By
  2. 2 Bernard-Henri Lévy: The Free Market and Morality
    Bernard-Henri Lévy
  3. 3 Is Marxism "Realistic"?
    Will Wilkinson The Moral Sciences Club
  4. 4 Michael Lewis Explores the Free Market and Morality
    Michael Lewis

The Fallacy of Composition

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