CBSE Class 12 Economics Law Of Diminishing Marginal Utility
Law of diminishing marginal utility (DMU) states that as we consume more and more units of a commodity, the utility derived from each successive unit goes on decreasing.
In making choices, most people spread their incomes over different kinds of goods. People prefer a variety of goods because consuming more and more of any one good reduces the marginal satisfaction derived from further consumption of the same good. This law expresses an important relationship between the utility and the quantity consumed of a commodity. Let us understand this law with the help of an example.
Suppose your Father has just come from the market and you offer him a glass of soft drink. The first glass of soft drink will give him great satisfaction. The satisfaction with the second glass will be relatively lesser. With further consumption, a stage will come, when he would not need any more glass of juice, i.e. when the marginal utility drops to zero. After that point, if he is forced to consume even one more glass, it will lead to disutility. Such a decrease in satisfaction with consumption of successive units occurs due to ‘ Law of diminishing marginal utility.’
Law of DMU has universal applicability and applies to all goods and services. This law was first given by a German economist H.H.Gossen. That is why, it is also known as ‘Gossen’s first law of consumption’.
Assumptions of Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility
The law of DMU operates under certain specific conditions. Economists call them the assumptions of this law. These are as follows:
- Cardinal measurement of utility – It is assumed that the utility can be measured and a consumer can express his satisfaction in quantitative terms such as 1, 2, 3 etc.
- Monetary measurement of utility – It is assumed that the utility is measurable in monetary terms.
- Consumption of reasonable quantity – It is assumed that a reasonable quantity of the commodity is consumed. For example, we should compare MU of glassful of water and not of spoonful. If a thirsty person is given water in a spoon, then every additional spoon will yield him more utility. So, to hold the law true, suitable and proper quantity of the commodity should be consumed.
- Continuous consumption – It is assumed that consumption is a continuous process. For example, if one ice cream is consumed in the morning and another in the evening, then the second ice-cream may provide equal or higher satisfaction nas compared to the first one.
- No change in Quality – Quality of the commodity consumed is assumed to be uniform. A second cup of ice-cream with nuts and toppings may give more satisfaction than the first one, if the first ice-cream was without nuts and toppings.
- Rational consumer – The consumer is assumed to be rational who measures, calculates and compares the utilities of different commodities and aims at maximizing total satisfaction.
- Independent utilities – It is assumed that all the commodities consumed by the consumer are independent. It means, MU of one commodity has no relation with MU of another commodity. Further, it is also assumed that one person’s utility is not affected by the utility of any other person.
- MU of money remains constant – As a consumer spends money on the commodity, he is left with lesser money to spend on other commodities. In this process, the remaining money becomes dearer to the consumer and it increases MU of money for the consumer. But, such an increase in MU of money is ignored. As MU of a commodity has to be measured in monetary terms, it is assumed that MU of Money remains constant.
- Fixed income and prices – It is assumed that the income of the consumer and prices of the goods which the consumer wishes to purchase remain constant.
It must be noted that ‘utility approach to consumer’s equilibrium’ is based on all these assumptions.
Class 12 Economics Online Classes are available at Takshila Learning. Takshila Learning regularly provides you different blogs and articles as requested by students. In this article, Economics Notes On Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility has been discussed. It is a very important topic of CBSE Class 12 Economics.
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