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How mythical markets mislead analysis: an institutionalist critique of market universalism

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journal contribution
posted on 19.02.2019, 14:40 by Geoff Hodgson
Market universalism refers to the non-metaphorical tendency to use the term market to describe a wide variety of arrangements or processes in the real world. Using institutional criteria, this paper establishes some minimal necessary features of a market, to show that some particular arrangements are not markets. For example, while mechanisms of competition and interaction are ubiquitous, ordinary conversation is not literally a ‘market for ideas’ and much of politics is not literally a ‘political market’. Markets are not and cannot be universal. Yet market universalism overlooks missing markets, the theory of which implies that we are in a world of second-best solutions and that markets are not necessarily the answer to every economic problem. Also, by reducing politics to a form of ‘market’ economics, market universalism downplays the distinctive, non-market nature of the political and legal spheres and corrodes the conceptual separation of civil society from the state.

History

School

  • Loughborough University London

Published in

Socio-Economic Review

Volume

18

Issue

4

Pages

1153–1174

Citation

HODGSON, G.M., 2019. How mythical markets mislead analysis: an institutionalist critique of market universalism. Socio-Economic Review, 18(4), pp. 1153–1174.

Publisher

© The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press and the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics.

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in Socio-Economic Review following peer review. The version of record HODGSON, G.M., 2019. How mythical markets mislead analysis: an institutionalist critique of market universalism. Socio-Economic Review, In Press is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1093/ser/mwy049

Acceptance date

10/12/2018

Publication date

2019-01-09

Copyright date

2020

ISSN

1475-1461

eISSN

1475-147X

Language

en

Exports