Economics in Real Time transforms the analysis of contemporary sales and purchases. In mainstream economics the series of purchases, say, of a personal computer, then of software upgrades, peripherals, on-line services, and even support services are analyzed as discrete, essentially unrelated transactions. However counterintuitive, this approach is theoretically necessary to sustain the free-market narrative, its price and general equilibrium theories, and its efficiency and welfare theorems. Economics in Real Time instead links such related purchases within what is called a "sale/purchase state" occupying the time interval that begins with the initial purchase of the PC and ends only when all of the PC's services have been exchanged to the buyer. Under this analysis, typical contemporary sale/purchase states, as for automobiles, benefit plans, and electronic goods, place the purchaser in continuing, often dependent relationships to multiple sellers, at least some of which were not even overt partners to the initial purchase. Moreover they typically impose a continuing stream of expenditures upon the purchaser, as for automobile upkeep or music CDs, and so forth.
Economics in Real Time analyzes a contemporary economy as shaped in both its narrowly economic and broadly social features by these sale/purchase states. It draws a radically different picture of its terrain, challenging at the most fundamental level both the relevance and the theoretical warrant of the free-market conception.