MarketThink is a particular way of thinking and talking about the world. It is described in the book ‘No-one makes you shop at Wal-Mart: the surprising deceptions of individual choice’ by Tom Slee.

MarketThink assumes that:

  1. We live our lives as a series of one-off, unconnected decisions. At every step along the way, we make whichever choice will maximize our own individual happiness.
  2. Consumers, and not corporations, have all the power. Consumers vote with their wallets, and therefore corporations have to do what consumers want.
  3. Markets are the most efficient possible way of providing people with things they want. As a consequence of this, if the market provides something then people must really want that thing, even if they say they don’t.

Because it assumes that the market works perfectly and people get what they want (or what they deserve) MarketThink can be seen as a sub-type of the Just World Fallacy. Believing that the world is fundamentally just sounds rather nice and warm and fuzzy, but paradoxically it implies that people’s misfortunes are entirely due to their own individual failings – people get what they deserve. This leads to accepting unjust situations rather than trying to change them, and to blaming the poorest and most marginalised people in society for their own misfortunes.

The term ‘MarketThink’ is reminiscent of Newspeak and Doublethink in the classic dystopian novel ‘1984’ by George Orwell.