What is the coincidence of wants?

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Coincidence of wants is the reason that money is so important in an economic system.  Or rather, I should say money is important because it is rare to have a coincidence of wants.

Coincidence of wants occurs when two people have goods or services that they want to trade with one another.  I have an answer you want, maybe you have a bunch of grapes that I want -- coincidence of needs.

But that makes it hard for an economy to run.  What if I have an answer and you have nothing I want?  Or what if you want to buy rice from someone and you have nothing they want?  Then you have to find out what they want and go try to trade for it.

So, it is hard to get coincidence of wants for all the things we want to have.

But when money is invented, we no longer need coincidence of wants.  We can trade money for anything.

krishna-agrawala's profile pic

krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

Coincidence of wants, also called double coincidence of wants, occurs when each of two persons, who are in a position to exchange good and services with each other, have exactly the same products available for exchange that the other person want. This makes very simple for both of them increase their satisfaction by exchanging surplus of what they have for something they want and don't have. However this kind of double coincidence of want is quite rare. Thus in most of the situation we are likely have "want of coincidence" rather than "coincidence of wants".

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