Introduction: Fingerprints of the Invisible Hand

After a long season of back-breaking labor seeding, feeding, and growing a crop, a farmer would never say, “Time to harvest—let’s take it easy.” If anything, the farmer would get up even earlier and go to bed even later to make sure that every last grain was harvested. Yet supposedly sophisticated companies, run by some of the best-educated people in the world, neglect what peasants have known by instinct for thousands of years. They work hard thinking about, growing, and finding markets for their product but then pay scant attention to the decision that determines what all that hard work yields the company: setting the price.

Despite the critical function prices play in corporate profitability, ...

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