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Part Four: Catallactics or Economics of the... > Chapter XVI. Prices

11. Price Discrimination on the Part of the Buyer

While monopoly prices and monopoly gains cannot be realized to the advantage of a monopolistic buyer, the case is different with price discrimination. There is only one condition required for the emergence of price discrimination on the part of a monopolistic buyer on a free market, namely, crass ignorance of the state of the market on the part of the sellers.As such ignorance is unlikely to last for any length of time, price discrimination can only be practiced if the government interferes.

The Swiss Government has established a government owned and operated trade monopoly for cereals. It buys cereals at world-market prices on foreign markets and at higher prices from domestic farmers. In domestic purchases it pays a higher price to farmers producing at higher costs on the rocky soil of the mountain districts and a lower price--although still higher than the world-market price--to the farmers tilling more fertile land.