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Markets and a multi-institutional perspective

Within the broad normative political economy perspective . . ., the inter-connections among institutions (and wea-ebookcover-ochangco-225x300 - 2policies) are important to recognize and understand. But not infrequently, however, these may not prove to be so easily tractable or even to understand and interpret, particularly in practice. For social and institutional processes need not always be seen as simple and linear (however attractive and convenient this might often seem to be); . . . certain relevant complexities in processes may often appear, which may thus require important recognition and attention—and these, perhaps, would also often require reconstructive efforts and difficult interpretive devices and competences to assist us in their understanding and with respect to more practical concerns. Moreover, if the outcomes—sometimes moving in opposing direction, and not infrequently showing some degree of ambiguity or fuzziness—are not to be narrowly channeled through some one dimensional accounting (as with the traditional GDP or some such related measure), but are rather to be assessed within a multi- metric, multi-factorial, normative lenses, as we have previously suggested, this would then imply that they may not be amenable to simple accounting (much less   an algorithmic one) which would result in one unambiguous measure. These may then often require communicative means, discussions and argumentation in order to figure out whether various institutional processes would constitute some kind of success or failure—or, at any rate, various degrees of progress reckoned with some such multi- metric scales. Related considerations would apply to figuring out the appropriate directions to go in terms of policies and institutional realization and design. 

A good part of the perspective that I am suggesting here—which deserves a good deal of emphasis—would involve a multi-institutional view that recognizes the need to see how various normative aims and considerations about processes would have to necessarily involve recognition of the inter-connections of these various institutions; and that, moreover, such a view of the inter-connections of a plurality of institutions have to be seized towards realizing normative goals. Thus, the workings of markets often have to be viewed within the context of institutions like constitutions and law, of various agencies or institutional instrumentalities that, for instance, attempt to address basic issues relating to deprivation and poverty, or education and public health, or equality of opportunity in the workplace or in other domains, or those that confront issues pertaining to reproductive health, risk and disaster management, and so on. Moreover, this normative multi-institutional view of society would have to recognize, in view of the inter-connections among these institutions, that outcomes and processes be seen in light of these various inter-connections.

Armando Ochangco

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