A micro-macro dilemma is an economic phenomenon according to which certain supposedly positive business and economical solutions appear to result in negative social consequences.
A fine example of micro-macro dilemma is the growing demand for high-powered engines in cars. Such engines increase the utilization of fuel, thus contributing to such negative environmental effects as significant air pollution and the spreading problem of global warming. At the same time, building cars with high-powered engines is very profitable for the producers, taking into consideration that this commodity attracts more and more consumers. Hence, the conflict between positive business and economic effects and generally negative social and environmental outcomes becomes apparent.
Another distinctive micro-macro dilemma concerns nuclear power. Its implicit value is that currently, nuclear fuel is a prevailing and the most effective source for generating electricity. Nevertheless, nuclear power also suggests significant threats to both society and the environment. The misuse of nuclear power may result in such destructive effects as radiation pollution and serious health risks.
Bank credit cards also have a dubious social and economic effect. Allowing consumers to borrow money for their versatile needs, credit cards lead to a substantial economic imbalance in society. Given the option to lend money from the banks extensively, many consumers practiced living beyond their actual financial opportunities. This led to a considerable rise in economy, intricate job market conditions and an unstable debt-to-income ratio.
Thus, the micro-macro dilemma is largely revealed through the contrast between separate positive experiences for customers and producers and a general negative effect for society. It is directly connected to the notion of social responsibility, which presupposes every individual’s duty to anticipate and restrict the risks posed by their economic and business decisions as well as strive to improve their positive effects.