A reasonable, and often pursued objective of firms is to maximize sales, that is, to sell as much output as possible. Clearly sales lead to revenue, meaning that maximizing sales is also bound to maximize revenue. But as the analysis of short-run production indicates, maximizing sales does NOT necessarily maximize profit. So why do firms do it? Are firms unreasonable? Are they irrational? Do they NOT understand the basic economic principles of short-run production? For some firms, the answers to these questions could be yes. But for other firms, sales maximization is actually a reasonable, even better, alternative to profit maximization. Consider, the day-to-day production of Wacky Willy Stuffed Amigos. Suppose the President of The Wacky Willy Company, William J. Wackowski, issues a corporate directive to sell as many Stuffed Amigos as possible, to maximize sales. Is Willy Wackowski wacky? It might be that Mr. Wackowski has no knowledge of basic economic principles. Alternatively Wacky William might have more business sense than it appears. In particular, if the price received from selling Stuffed Amigos is greater than the cost of producing each one, and looks to remain that way regardless of the quantity produced, then a reasonable goal is to maximize sales. If sales are greater, then so too is profit. Wacky Willy does NOT maximize profit under these circumstances. That is, it does not produce the quantity that achieves the highest possible profit. However, with each Stuffed Amigo produced, profit increases. In fact, Wacky Willy might not KNOW the profit-maximizing production level. All it knows is that selling more Stuffed Amigos, increases profit. While sales maximization can serve as a means of pursing profit maximization, it can also prevent a firm from maximizing profit. The reason, of course, is that if sales become so large that the cost of production increases such that marginal cost exceeds marginal revenue, the maximizing sales...
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