When you hear the phrase "market price mechanism" your mind instantly conjures up sad, nerdy academian economists with too much time on their hands and a desire to sound intelligent. So they come with some hoity toity sounding phrase and then banter it about much like rubric, paradigm and dynamic, mocking those who've never heard of the phrase, even though the phrase was created all of 10 seconds ago. However the "Market Price Mechanism" is not one of those phrases and is actually a VITAL part of any economy.
Specifically what it is, is the information a market conveys about the value of certain goods via prices. Say, for example housing. If you were like many Americans during the bubble, you were completely ignorant about all the underdealings and going-ons that led up to the bursting of it. Technically you needn't have been informed about these things because the market, inevitably, told you housing was too pricey when housing prices started to tank. The market was telling you "Hey, there's too much housing" or "hey, housing is not worth as much as you think it should be."
While this is one example, the information the market pricing mechanism conveys is even more important than that. Prices provide information about EVERYTHING in the economy. Is milk over priced? What's going on with gas prices? OBama got elected - well maybe silver is more valuable than it was before. Is that Furby really worth $400?
More commonly you see this play out in real time at lightning fast speed anytime you watch a stock market trade up or down. As information is released about corporate earnings, economic data, even things like weather ("Trading Places" anyone?), the vast amount of information is digested by the market and translated into second to second changes in prices. In other words the market pricing mechanism constantly reassesses the value of every item in the economy by taking in all the information that is relevant to the value of those items and conveniently translates that into a numerical dollar price for your brain to understand. You can then decide whether it is worth the price to pay for such an item or not.
Market pricing mechanisms, however, do not just apply to financial markets or commodity markets. You could contest that any time any information is conveyed to a human, that human's perception of whatever that information is about changes. So for example say I'm going tornado chasing and time after time again I see tornadoes have a tendency to show up in the afternoon as opposed to morning. I incorporate this information and then sleep in till 10AM instead of going out chasing in the morning. The problem is sometimes the information you get is wrong. And if you act on wrong information it can cost you.
Say a jealous tornado chaser doesn't like some noob in his neck of Kansas. He purposely lies to me and says, "Yeah, all the tornado chasing happens at night. It's great!" Then I will see no tornadoes.
Or David Lareah tells me during 2005 that housing is a great deal. I buy and lose my shirt on a McMansion. Such information can be considered "wrong" but it can also be "noise" in that it drowns out the real data resulting in bad pricing.
Now fast forward to today when (once again, I have no idea why) the memory of a girl giving me gift certificates to Sebastian Joe's (an ice cream parlor in town I like) popped into my head. It was long ago, she was a dance student of mine and she learned I liked Sebastian Joe's ice cream. At the end of class she brought me a gift certificate. In hindsight I see that the girl really liked me and probably wanted me to ask her out. But I never went out with the girl. That seemed odd to me today because she was cute and I would have gone out with her. Why didn't I pick up on that Sebastian Joe's ice cream certificate? Why didn't I act upon that obvious piece of information the market pricing mechanism was sending me?
Because other girls previous to her ruined the market pricing mechanism.
What I mean by this is previous to this girl I had suffered a torrent of instances where information I would have thought was giving me a green light, ended up being nothing more that false alarms or outright ruses. There was the one girl who invited me back to her place after a date, took me upstairs, took off her shirt, wanted a back rub and when I went in for the kiss she jumped back, shocked saying, "what are you doing???"
There was the other girl, only in her skivvies, in my bed. So sure was I of this one I turned her around, went in for a kiss, thinking nothing of it, and again, "Wait! What are you doing!? I can't kiss a man until I'm engaged!"
And let us not forget the countless times of married women who take their rings off, show up at bars or clubs, flirt with you and when it comes for a phone number or going back to a hotel, "Oh no! I can't do that, I'm married!" Alas, they were merely using you to test their market value.
With such erroneous information or "noise" flooding the market, the problem is nobody listens anymore to the market pricing mechanism. So when a SINCERE and legitimate piece of information hits the market (nice, sweet girl getting you ice cream certificates), you treat it with suspicion, don't believe it, and don't act on it because now all information is considered corrupt and unreliable.
The effects this has on the "dating market" is identical to the effects a dysfunctional market pricing mechanism would have on a financial market. With no market pricing mechanism, liquidity dries up. With no liquidity, there is no volume. And with no volume, there is no value. In other words, no trades are made, nobody buys anything, the market shuts down.
Now, this was happening in my 20's when it was fun and fashionable for young girls to play games. But 10 years later the women are "serious" and they're "done playing games." They've "had their fun and are ready to settle down." Why, you'll forgive them for their immaturities, won't you? They were just having fun, you understand. Tee hee!
Sadly, it's too late. Not in the sense they're in the 30's and "where have all the good men gone?" But the destruction of the market pricing mechanism explains another little phrase you commonly hear.
"He's not picking up on my clues! How can't he tell I'm flirting with him! Why hasn't he asked me out yet?! I've given him all the signals!!!!"
In short, men have become inured to the information the market pricing mechanism sends out. And while girls may be done "playing their games" and are NOW sending out serious and legitimate information, unfortunately nobody is listening, or, let alone dares to let themselves believe it.
What is the cost?
Well, consider my friend from yesterday.
He's in his 40's, has excellent game, is accomplished and is in good shape. He's conversing with a 25 year old thing who has a hipster boyfriend. The girl has dropped every imaginable hint about those two going out. "Let's go for drinks." "Let's get drunk." "I'm bored by myself." etc. etc.
Though accomplished, my 40 something colleague is nothing but skeptical. Would it be great to go out with a 25 year old thing and steal her from her hipster DB boyfriend? You bet. But if history is any indication, it is more likely she would just use him for drinks, OR, should he ask her out, she has the immediate shame-card, "why, GASP! I have a boyfriend! (you dirty, amoral person you - implied)"
We'll never know. He's opted to do nothing.
Financially that means a market price of zero, volume traded of zero, and a value of zero. Romantically, that means no dates, no courting, no romance, no nothing.
Enjoy the decline!