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A market is one of many varieties of systems, institutions, procedures, social relations and infrastructures whereby parties engage in exchange
- Having created the conditions that make markets possible, democracy must do all the things that markets undo or cannot do.
- In and of itself, the market is not, and must not become, the place where the strong subdue the weak.
- The market does not exist in the pure state. It is shaped by the cultural configurations which define it and give it direction.
- Markets are social organizations, structured and regulated by more or less well-defined social rule systems.
- Tom R. Burns et al. (1987) The shaping of social organization p. 125
- Vulgar libertarian apologists for capitalism use the term "free market" in an equivocal sense: they seem to have trouble remembering, from one moment to the next, whether they’re defending actually existing capitalism or free market principles. So we get the standard boilerplate article arguing that the rich can’t get rich at the expense of the poor, because "that’s not how the free market works"—implicitly assuming that this is a free market. When prodded, they’ll grudgingly admit that the present system is not a free market, and that it includes a lot of state intervention on behalf of the rich. But as soon as they think they can get away with it, they go right back to defending the wealth of existing corporations.
- Kevin Carson, Studies in Mutualist Political Economy (2007), Chapter 4
- As the most powerful state, the U.S. makes its own laws, using force and conducting economic warfare at will. It also threatens sanctions against countries that do not abide by its conveniently flexible notions of "free trade." In one important case, Washington has employed such threats with great effectiveness (and GATT approval) to force open Asian markets for U.S. tobacco exports and advertising, aimed primarily at the growing markets of women and children. The U.S. Agriculture Department has provided grants to tobacco firms to promote smoking overseas. Asian countries have attempted to conduct educational anti-smoking campaigns, but they are overwhelmed by the miracles of the market, reinforced by U.S. state power through the sanctions threat. Philip Morris, with an advertising and promotion budget of close to $9 billion in 1992, became China's largest advertiser. The effect of Reaganite sanction threats was to increase advertising and promotion of cigarette smoking (particularly U.S. brands) quite sharply in Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea, along with the use of these lethal substances. In South Korea, for example, the rate of growth in smoking more than tripled when markets for U.S. lethal drugs were opened in 1988. The Bush Administration extended the threats to Thailand, at exactly the same time that the "war on drugs" was declared; the media were kind enough to overlook the coincidence, even suppressing the outraged denunciations by the very conservative Surgeon-General. Oxford University epidemiologist Richard Peto estimates that among Chinese children under 20 today, 50 million will die of cigarette-related diseases, an achievement that ranks high even by 20th century standards.
- Noam Chomsky, In Tony Evans (ed.), Human Rights Fifty Years on: A Reappraisal, 1997
- Big industry has brought all the people of the Earth into contact with each other, has merged all local markets into one world market, has spread civilization and progress everywhere and has thus ensured that whatever happens in civilized countries will have repercussions in all other countries. It follows that if the workers in England or France now liberate themselves, this must set off revolution in all other countries – revolutions which, sooner or later, must accomplish the liberation of their respective working class.
- By creating the world market, big industry has already brought all the peoples of the Earth, and especially the civilized peoples, into such close relation with one another that none is independent of what happens to the others. Further, it has co-ordinated the social development of the civilized countries to such an extent that, in all of them, bourgeoisie and proletariat have become the decisive classes, and the struggle between them the great struggle of the day. It follows that the communist revolution will not merely be a national phenomenon but must take place simultaneously in all civilized countries. ... It is a universal revolution and will, accordingly, have a universal range.
- Markets are interested in profits and profits only; service, quality, and general affluence are different functions altogether. The universal, democratic prosperity that Americans now look back to with such nostalgia was achieved only by a colossal reining in of markets, by the gargantuan effort of mass, popular organizations like labor unions and of the people themselves, working through a series of democratically elected governments not daunted by the myths of the market.
- Thomas Frank, One Market Under God (2000)
- If an exchange between two parties is voluntary, it will not take place unless both believe they will benefit from it. Most economic fallacies derive from the neglect of this simple insight, from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another.
- Milton Friedman, Free to Choose (1980), Chapter 1
- The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley's technologies to flourish is called the US Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.
- RS: The question is – what is the market? Hayek's answer was: it is a real or virtual place where individuals voluntarily exchange...
JG: ...That is right, in principle. And do not get me wrong – I think markets are a good thing, they have created peace, freedom and prosperity. Yet, there is no such thing as "the" market. There are, in fact, always different markets in different countries and cultures. They change in the course of history, through wars, through revolutions and, today, through geopolitical competition.
- John Gray and René Scheu, "The role of the sceptic" (2013)
- Faith in natural order and market efficiency forecloses a full normative assessment of market outcomes. ... It effectively depoliticizes the market itself and its outcomes. It is only when the illusion of natural order is lifted that a real problem arises: that of the justice of the organizational rules and their distributional consequences.
- Bernard Harcourt, The Illusion of Free Markets: Punishment and the Myth of Natural Order (2011), p. 32
- If by free market one means a market that is autonomous and spontaneous, free from political controls, then there is no such thing as a free market at all. It is simply a myth.
- Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, in Multitude, p. 167
- I'm often sympathetic to people who talk about the theology of the market, the theology of monetary policy, because once you've mastered the basic notions of competition and all the intricate mechanisms, and interconnectedness of market operations around the world with [the] Internet and everything else, once you've mastered that you see there is no other way to keep order and dynamism among scattered individuals and tribes except through an open market system, law of contracts, strong laws and enforcement of competition and of contracts and monetary stability. Once you've got that, it's a dominant religion, almost. I have said -- and it's offended some of my other Christian friends, they have said this is awful, sacrilege -- I have said that the market is almost god-ordained. The laws of competition, the ordinary laws of supply and demand are the nearest you have in the social sciences to the laws of motion and the laws of gravity in the natural sciences. [Because] there's competition and markets you can tell that [if] you act in a certain way, you will blow up the currency. We knew that inflation was going to happen not [by] listening to what politicians said, but watching their hands, when their hands moved towards the till, and [we] could see that 18 months or two years before monetary expansion led to inflation. Friedman lay all this down in very clear and emphatic terms.
- The market is neutral and relativistic; it does not inquire as to the origin or validity of the desires it responds to. ... We do not think we require discussions about our use of resources but are willing simply to sum up dollar-backed private desires. There is a rather good correspondence between these characteristics of the market and the relativistic, subjectivistic ways of thinking about ethical issues.
- Stephen Hart, What Does the Lord Require? How American Christians Think about Economic Justice (Oxford: 1992), p. 122
- And today? Does the competitive market mechanism still operate?
This is not a question to which it is possible to give a simple answer. The nature of the market has changed vastly since the eighteenth century. We no longer live in a world of atomistic competition in which no man can afford to swim against the current. Today’s market mechanism is characterized by the huge size of its participants: giant corporations and strong labor unions obviously do not behave as if they were individual proprietors and workers. Their very bulk enables them to stand out against the pressures of competition, to disregard price signals, and to consider what their self-interest shall be in the long run rather than in the immediate press of each day’s buying and selling.
That these factors have weakened the guiding function of the market mechanism is apparent. But for all the attributes of modern-day economic society, the great forces of self-interest and competition, however watered down or hedged about, still provide basic rules of behavior that no participant in a market system can afford to disregard entirely. Although the world in which we live is not that of Adam Smith, the laws of the market can still be discerned if we study its operations.
- Modernized poverty appears when the intensity of market dependence reaches a certain threshold. Subjectively, it is the experience of frustrating affluence which occurs in persons mutilated by their overwhelming reliance on the riches of industrial productivity. Simply, it deprives those affected by it of their freedom and power to act autonomously, to live creatively; it confines them to survival through being plugged into market relations. And precisely because this new impotence is so deeply experienced, it is with difficulty expressed. We are the witnesses of a barely perceptible transformation in ordinary language by which verbs that formerly designated satisfying actions are replaced by nouns that denote packages designed for passive consumption only: for example, "to learn" becomes "acquisition of credits." A profound change in individual and social self-images is here reflected. ... The peculiarly modern inability to use personal endowments, communal life, and environmental resources in an autonomous way infects every aspect of life where a professionally engineered commodity has succeeded in replacing a culturally shaped use-value. The opportunity to experience personal and social satisfaction outside the market is thus destroyed.
- Ivan Illich, Toward a History of Needs (1978)
- The market, over time, is its own worst enemy. Indeed, the valiant and ultimately successful efforts of New Dealers to set American capitalism back on its feet were most vigorously opposed by many of their eventual beneficiaries. But although market failure may be catastrophic, market success is just as politically dangerous. The task of the state is not just to pick up the pieces when an under-regulated economy bursts. It is also to contain the effects of immoderate gains. After all, many Western industrial countries were doing extraordinarily well in the era of Edwardian social reform: in the aggregate, they were growing fast and wealth was multiplying. But the proceeds were ill-distributed and it was this more than anything which led to calls for reform and regulation.
- Tony Judt, Ill Fares the Land (2010), Ch. 6 : The Shape of Things to Come
- It is well known that there have been many market failures and corrupt behavior under the market system unless there is strong political oversight and leadership. The effects of such excesses are fairly evident in many respects, but the most serious is in the resulting skewness of the income and wealth distributions both within and among national economies.
- Lawrence Klein, on question "In what sphere of life, if any, do you think it most important to limit the influence of market forces?", in "Nobel Laureates Offer Views on the Economy", Wall Street Journal (Sept. 3, 2004)
- Good companies will meet needs; great companies will create markets.
- Philip Kotler, cited in: Stuart Crainer (2002), The 75 Greatest Management Decisions Ever Made, p. 37
- I believe that one ought to have only as much market efficiency as one needs, because everything that we value in human life is within the realm of inefficiency — love, family, attachment, community, culture, old habits, comfortable old shoes.
- A market is a group of buyers and sellers of a particular good or service. The buyers as a group determine the demand for the product, and the sellers as a group determine the supply of the product. Markets take many forms. Some markets are highly organized, such as the markets for many agricultural commodities. In these markets, buyers and sellers meet at a specific time and place, where an auctioneer helps set prices and arrange sales. More often, markets are less organized. For example, consider the market for ice cream in a particular town. […] Nonetheless, these consumers and producers of ice cream are closely connected.
- N. Gregory Mankiw, Principles of Economics (6th ed., 2012), Ch. 4. The Market Forces of Supply and Demand
- If the individual were no longer compelled to prove himself on the market, as a free economic subject, the disappearance of this kind of freedom would be one of the greatest achievements of civilization. The technological processes of mechanization and standardization might release individual energy into a yet uncharted realm of freedom beyond necessity. The very structure of human existence would be altered; the individual would be liberated from the work world's imposing upon him alien needs and alien possibilities. The individual would be free to exert autonomy over a life that would be his own.
- Herbert Marcuse, One Dimensional Man (1964), p. 2
- The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his “natural superiors,” and has left no other bond between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous “cash payment.” It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervor, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom—Free Trade.
- Karl Marx, The Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848)
- ... Many markets get down to two or three big competitors — or five or six. And in some of those markets, nobody makes any money to speak of. But in others, everybody does very well.
Over the years, we've tried to figure out why the competition in some markets gets sort of rational from the investor's point of view so that the shareholders do well, and in other markets, there's destructive competition that destroys shareholder wealth.
- The code-speak phrase "limit the influence of market forces" really means to arrange things OTHERWISE by leaving everything to free-market equilibration. A simple illustration is where a state wishes simply to defend its existence. This may call for various concepts of national self-sufficiency so that, for example, Japan may choose not to become entirely an importer of rice!
- John Forbes Nash, on question "In what sphere of life, if any, do you think it most important to limit the influence of market forces?", in "Nobel Laureates Offer Views on the Economy", Wall Street Journal (Sept. 3, 2004)
- If a Martian were asked to pick the most efficient and humane economic systems on earth, it would certainly not choose the countries which rely most on markets. The United States is a stagnant economy in which real wages have been constant for more than a decade and the real income of the bottom 40 percent of the population declined. It is an inhumane society in which 11.5 percent of the population, some 32 million people, including 20 percent of all children, live in absolute poverty. It is the oldest democracy on earth but also one with the lowest voting rates among democracies and the highest per capita prison population in the world. The fastest developing countries in the world today are among those where the state pursues active industrial and trade policies; the few countries in the world in which almost no one is poor today are those in which the state has been engaged in massive social welfare and labor market policies.
- Adam Przeworski, in "In Defense of Neoliberalism" in Journal of Democracy, Vol. 3, Issue 3 (1992), p. 46
- Government doesn’t "intrude" on the "free market." It creates the market. ... Those who argue for "less government" area really arguing for a different government—often one that favors them or their patrons.
- Robert Reich, Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few (2015)
- This new era of liberal governance saw a fourth pillar of political authority join the old tripartite structure of democratic rule as the institutions of the market took their place alongside parliaments, the executive branch, and the judiciary. As the postwar institutions of democracy were challenged, new ones were found to replace them, and new—often more conservative—norms came to transform the way they actually worked. Actually existing democracy was overhauled; and long before the decade was out the reinvention of the West was underway. Critically, the fall of communism between 1989 and 1991 represented a denouement to this process, rather than the beginning it is usually taken for; the now liberated countries of the East being swept up into the ongoing history of liberal reinvention in the West. Fatefully, it also provided Western political liberalism within opportunity not only to overlook the difficulties already apparent in the liberal democratic consensus, but in many ways to intensify their effect.
- Simon Reid-Henry, Empire of Democracy: The Remaking of the West Since the Cold War, 1971-2017 (2019), p. 6
- The time to buy is when there's blood in the streets, even if the blood is your own.
- Extreme concentration of economic and political power.
- William F. Sharpe, on question "In what sphere of life, if any, do you think it most important to limit the influence of market forces?", in "Nobel Laureates Offer Views on the Economy", Wall Street Journal (Sept. 3, 2004)
- None, because "markets" are about recognizing that information is dispersed in all social systems, and that the problem of society is to find, devise and discover institutions that incentivize and enable people to make the right decisions without anyone having to tell them what to do. The idea that market forces should be limited stems from a fundamental error in beliefs about markets. This is the wrong question.
- Vernon L. Smith, on question "In what sphere of life, if any, do you think it most important to limit the influence of market forces?", in "Nobel Laureates Offer Views on the Economy", Wall Street Journal (Sept. 3, 2004)
- In the advanced economies, I would say: To avoid mass unemployment, poverty and widening inequality.
- Robert Solow, on question "In what sphere of life, if any, do you think it most important to limit the influence of market forces?", in "Nobel Laureates Offer Views on the Economy", Wall Street Journal (Sept. 3, 2004)
- The collapse of the global marketplace would be a traumatic event with unimaginable consequences. Yet I find it easier to imagine than the continuation of the present regime.
- George Soros in Soros on Soros : Staying Ahead of the Curve (1995), p. 194
- Economists' usual list begins with distribution of income. There is no reason to believe that the distribution of income that emerges out of market processes is desirable or acceptable. Unbridled market forces without any role of government might lead to a large number of people living under subsistence. This is an area for government to do something. We know that unbridled economic forces can lead to big booms and big recessions. We need to do something about that. We know that a market can lead to pollution -- and there's an important role for government there. We know that there will be under-investment in public goods. As we think about the innovation economy, we should remember that most of the innovation in the private sector is based on research financed by the government, such as its role in developing the Internet.
- Joseph Stiglitz, on question "In what sphere of life, if any, do you think it most important to limit the influence of market forces?", in "Nobel Laureates Offer Views on the Economy", Wall Street Journal (Sept. 3, 2004)
- It is above all the impersonal and economically rationalized (but for this very reason ethically irrational) character of purely commercial relationships that evokes the suspicion, never clearly expressed but all the more strongly felt, of ethical religions. For every purely personal relationship of man to man, of whatever sort and even including complete enslavement, may be subjected to ethical requirements and ethically regulated. This is true because the structures of these relationships depend upon the individual wills of the participants, leaving room in such relations for manifestations of the virtue of charity. But this is not the situation in the realm of economically rationalised relationships, where personal control is exercised in inverse ratio to the degree of rational differentiation of the economic structure.