We can still talk about preferences or tastes in a meaningful way without having to draw indifference curves. For historical reasons, economists use the term utility to represent the amount of satisfaction or pleasure a consumer receives from consuming good and services.

   When economists speak of the utility or satisfaction a consumer receives from goods and services we mean simply the pleasure from consumption, independent of price or affordability. It may seem odd at first to separate consumption enjoyment from price, but it is necessary to understand the separate roles played by tastes and affordability in consumer decision-making.

   For example, when you are watching a movie your pleasure probably comes from the movie itself, not how much you did or did not pay for it. Some movies suck, even if you see them for free, just as some for which you pay full price can be great.

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