Society, Markets and Rules
Chapter 2: How market and society relate
Views on how market and society relate to each other may be classified according to Figures 2.1 through to 2.3. There are three broad ways in which to perceive the relation between the two spheres. First is to see market(s) and society as two separate realms (Figure 2.1). Obviously, the neoclassical economic view, specifically the Walrasian approach, is an example of this. Market and society remain separate at all times. Indeed, the view of the market one finds in this literature is a highly abstract one – markets are ‘conjured up’, as Frank Hahn expresses – and the realistic nature of it might be questioned. As the market encroaches on society, a sense of alienation in the sense of Karl Marx might start – for some at least. This may be due to the differences in what motivates people in the two spheres, how they view the world in different terms when perceiving themselves in one sphere or the other (van Staveren 2001; Le Grand 2003). Another view captured in Figure 2.1 is the one Talcott Parsons and Neil Neal Smelser (1956) presented on the relation between market(s) and society. They argued that distinct markets (nota bene: plural) emerge at the boundaries between different spheres, such as polity and other sub-spheres in society, effectively insulating these spheres from one another (Finch 2007).
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