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THE CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR FORMALIZATION IN THE MARKET SELF-REGULATION CONDITIONS BASED ON THE HOMO ECONOMICUS MODEL

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Abstract

The article analyzes the assumptions on which the homo economicus («economic man») model is based and which form the basis of the theory of consumer behaviour. In the modern sense, homo economicus is a general concept, a model of human behaviour, which is the basis of many economic theories, in particular, the orthodox liberal trend. The main feature of homo economicus is rationalism, the desire to get the greatest benefit. The main theoretical premise of economic rationality is the criterion of utility maximization. The situation in which homo economicus reaches the maximum utility of a set of goods for a given budget, has been called consumer equilibrium. This state characterizes the optimal amount of consumption of economic goods under given budget constraints. Consumption is also limited by a combination of factors such as physiological norms, upbringing, traditions, and others that are not related to the consumer’s budget. Under conditions of non-budgetary restrictions on consumption, a rational homo economicus can achieve individual consumer equilibrium without spending its entire budget. The growth of his money savings leads to the depreciation of money and creates a fictitious demand for economic benefits, which is manifested in the willingness to pay a higher price for them, without increasing the consumption. Inflated prices, in turn, stimulate the good producers to increase the supply of the economic goods, which are in fact no one needs. According to T. Veblen and S. Gesell, in a capitalist economy, excess money savings adversely affect the efficiency of resource use and, ultimately, lead to wastefulness. Thus, the individual consumer choice of homo economicus as the driving force of market processes is imperfect and leads to disproportions between the supply of economic goods and the real need for them, that is, the volume of consumption. The achieving of the individual consumer equilibrium maximizes the utility of a set of goods for the homo economicus in only one consumption cycle. If we consider a sequence of such cycles for a long period, taking into account non-budgetary restrictions on consumption, then the behavior of homo economicus requires the definition of other criteria of rationality.
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