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June 16, 2024 

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WHEALER-LEA ACT: This was a major amendment to the Federal Trade Commission Act, passed in 1938, that gave powers to the Federal Trade Commission to investigate unfair and deceptive business practices and to prevent false advertising. The Whealer-Lea Act was a major step in moving the Federal Trade Commission into its current role as more of a consumer protection agency than a monopoly buster.

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INVISIBLE HAND: The notion that buyers and sellers, consumers and producers, households and businesses, pursuing their own self-interests, do what's best for the economy--automatically, without any government intervention, as if guided by an invisible hand. This invisible hand was essential to the economic analysis of markets in Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations. It has continued to be cornerstone in conservative economic policies that call for limits on government intervention in the economy.

     See also | market | free market | laissez faire | free enterprise | Smith, Adam | efficiency | competition | allocation | The Wealth of Nations | conservative | liberal |


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GAINS FROM TRADE

The combination of consumer surplus and producer surplus obtained by buyers and sellers when engaging in a market exchange. Gains from trade arise because buyers are typically willing and able to pay a higher price to purchase a good than what they end up paying and because sellers are typically willing and able to accept a lower price to sell a good than what they end up receiving. Both sides of the market exchange are thus better off, have a net gain in welfare, by making the trade. While all types of market exchanges generate gains from trade, this topic is perhaps most important for an understanding of international trade.

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