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Why Do Firms Exist?

22 May 2017Other Essays

If markets are unanimously supposed to be the most proficient organizational arrangement and do not need the existence of firms for tackling scarcity, then why do firms exist at all? Ahead of the traditional theory of the firm as a profit-maximizing unit, an additional theory has developed to deal with the question of why firms exist. This hypothesis is not incorporated in most micro theory texts and course materials. For the most part frequently firms are assumed as an indispensable nonconformist building block of the economy without further explanation. The existence question of firms is never raised. A theory intending to clarify the existence of firms has been developed and can be seen as a discrepancy of the alternatives argument. (Foss, 2005) The premise that government substitutes for markets when they fall short to organize economic activity economically can be unmitigated to firms. Firms may come into existence to antidote noteworthy aspects of market failure.

Jointly the substitutes quarrelsome arrangement of mainstream political economy and the substitutes commencement of the firm would suggest the broad outlines of a substitutes theory of institutions in economics. A substitutes theory of institutions would assume that other forms of organized economic activity are, like the government and the firm, derivatives of and substitutes for competitive markets. (Huff, 2000)

Markets are chosen as the paramount solution to the trouble of scarcity. Certainly markets fall short. Other institutional structures come into subsistence to recompense for the insufficiencies of markets. In this scrutiny, these other institutional structures undoubtedly would not exist if markets were unanimously triumphant in organizing human activity.

Why do firms exist? This is a question avoiding by the substitutes confrontational structure which permeates approximately all of the academic literature in the economics profession. Think about the most essential assumptions of economic analysis. In conventional economics, the fundamental suppositions of economic theory come into view to hypothesize the survival of shortage and markets but not firms. Scarceness is a substantive intention about the character of the real world. (Dunning, 2001) It identifies a basic limitation of resources, incomes, and products accessible for human utilization and fabrication. Markets assist us manage with scarcity. In addition, markets can purpose without firms. Thus the scarcity-coping function of markets can be attained without firms.


  • Dunning, J. H. & Mucchielli, J. (Eds.). (2001). Multinational Firms: The Global-Local Dilemma. London: Routledge.
  • Foss, N. J. (2005). Strategy, Economic Organization, and the Knowledge Economy: The Coordination of Firms and Resources. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
  • Huff, A. S., Huff, J. O., & Barr, P. S. (2000). When Firms Change Direction. New York: Oxford University Press.

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