Individual optimum versus collective optimum consequences for Open Design

When describing matters on which decisions are made in a society (an economic system, a company) economists distinguish between the individual optimum and the collective optimum, and between individual (consumer) goods and collective (consumer) goods.

Individual consumer goods can be consumed by one individual in 'separate' units, after which they are no longer available to other individuals. They might be apples, jackets, or private homes. In contrast, collective goods can be consumed by several individuals at the same time. Examples include bridges and parks. The individual optimum is the optimum for one individual, while the collective optimum is the optimum for a number of individuals together. The four terms give four different situations (Table B.1).

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