Researchers have long proposed using economic approaches to resource allocation in computer systems. However, few of these proposals became operational, let alone commercial. Questions persist about the economic approach regarding its assumptions, value, applicability, and relevance to system design. The goal of this paper is to answer these questions. We find that market-based resource allocation is useful, and more importantly, that mechanism design and system design should be integrated to produce systems that are both economically and computationally efficient.