Power, Policy and Profit
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Power, Policy and Profit

Corporate Engagement in Politics and Governance

Edited by Christina Garsten and Adrienne Sörbom

Power, Policy and Profit investigates the manifold ways in which corporate actors attempt to broadly influence political activities. With intensified globalization of markets, the restructuring of provisions of welfare services and accumulation of private capital opportunities for corporate influence in politics affairs have multiplied. Bringing together scholars from different fields in the study of global governance, the volume addresses the rising influence and power of corporate actors on the national and transnational political scene.
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Chapter 10: Preventing markets from self-destruction

Bo Rothstein


Even if competitive markets have shown themselves to be the most efficient organizational form for creating economic efficiency, the question of how they can avoid destructive influence from agents with opportunistic motives remains unresolved. Different institutional approaches have argued that to be efficient, markets need to be embedded in a set of formal and informal institutions. Because such institutions will in the long run make all market agents better off, they are labelled efficient institutions. Contrary to what is argued in neoclassical economics, it is unlikely that market agents will create such institutions endogenously because the institutions are to be understood as genuine public goods. Moreover, if such institutions have been established, we should expect market agents to face a collective action problem when sustaining them, leading to the destruction of the institutions. The conclusion is that if left to themselves, markets should be understood as inherently self-destructive.

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