Chapter 5: Community and economy: economys base
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The concept of the base offers a way to think of economy as consisting not only of markets but as an interaction of self-interested trade and social relationships. The tension between these two ways of organizing material life with their differing values varies across societies and in history. The market sphere has been intensely explored since Adam Smith. Today both anthropology and history reveal economy's other side with its foundation in social agreements and the social person. The concept of the base encompasses market practices and underwrites the many material acts, ideas, and values that are uncounted in markets and market economics. It reveals the dependence of self-interest and the rugged individual, who are often seen as the bedrock of the market, on social relationships. Providing a critique of the market when seen as the totality of economy, it offers an opening for arranging economies in alternative and creative ways.

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