Home > Uncategorized > Market myths and realities

Market myths and realities

from Asad Zaman

One of the core and central properties of markets is that they lead to increasing concentration of wealth at the top. This is because market allocations of goods and services respond to money, automatically conferring great power to those with wealth. For instance, market incentives lead to the production of luxury handbags anmythrealityd briefcases for plutocrats priced at $40,000+. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the price of one such bag can save more than 300 lives.

The extremely ugly realities of market societies are hidden from view because markets generate myths to glorify achievements, project illusions and conceal defects. Indeed, the creation of market myths is a second core and central property of markets, which is not mentioned in any current economics textbook. Market myths are crucial to the survival of market societies since knowledge of realities would lead to a revolution of the bottom 99% who are exploited by the super-rich. In this essay, we analyse a few of the central myths of market societies, and contrast them with the realities.  read more

  1. Jamie Morgan
    October 15, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    There are various ways to consider knowledge construction:


    Best, Jamie

  2. October 16, 2016 at 1:06 am

    Concentration of wealth is not intrinsic to markets. Market incentives could be structured to promote a more equal flow of wealth. But many market incentives are manipulated to favour the rich. Others may be inclined to favour the rich but that could be corrected with appropriately adjusted incentives, analogous to an emissions trading scheme shifting incentives away from fossil fuels and towards clean energy.

    See my book http://sacktheeconomists.com .

  3. October 16, 2016 at 5:35 am

    Play Monopoly to understand the core principle of capitalism: To create monopoly.

  4. David Harold Chester
    October 16, 2016 at 10:16 am

    The original of monopoly was called “The Landlord’s Game” and was invented about 1900 by an eminent Georgist. It was later stolen and renamed! The principle remains unchanged. Buy cheap sell high and apply this to land values.

  5. October 18, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    Markets are not intrinsic to human society. Neither are they necessary for society to prosper or survive. So why do they exist? Lots of different reasons both for them existing at all and for the particular forms they’ve taken historically. About 12,000 years ago, prehistoric humans began to practice farming, growing wild varieties of crops such as lentils, barley and peas while herding goats, wild oxen and other animals. All in the area of the Middle East called the “Fertile Crescent” (spreading out from the Tigris and Eufrat rivers in what today is Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, and Jordan). These first farmers began at several locations in this area at near the same time (says the latest research). Over time, these ancient hunter-gatherers switched to full-time farming and bred both plants and animals, producing new breeds and varieties. Since these early farming groups were separated they began to trade crops, herd animals, and women. They passed around their knowledge and their genes also through the trades. This is the earliest trading we know of. As populations grew in size (due to more food) some individuals became full time traders, established trade routes, created bazaars and other specialized sites to sell goods. With monarchy this led to coinage, taxation, and of course the need to settle trade disputes. Trade and market sites also became part of government and as religion emerged of religion also. The notion of an independent or self-governing market did not exist until the 15th century. And even then it was mostly just a ruse by rich merchants to use to either control government directly or through alliances with monarchs. In the 18th century liberalism was invented. It’s followers gave full voice and detailed justifications for markets being not only independent but actually superior to governments. Again, an effort underwritten and directly benefiting the new wealthy merchants and traders that had and were developing. Now we have neo-liberalism. Mostly with the same objectives but now even stronger from 200 years of detailed propaganda and alliances with government (mostly monarchs). Thus far democracy has proven a match for neo-liberalism only occasionally and in limited areas. And the status of democracy in the competition is declining. Markets dominate democratic decision making more each day.

  6. October 18, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    Democracy lost the battle against Markets by a 5-4 vote in the Supreme court in 2010 Citizens United vs FEC when the judges ruled for “freedom of speech” by corporations, allowing their money to talk without any upper limit.

  7. October 19, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    The opinion here is interesting, both historically and in terms of current and past legal practices. SCOTUS’ opinion is based on an ahistorical and atypical reading of the First Amendment. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” SCOTUS’ focus is the 2nd phrase regarding freedom of speech. The majority opinion omits any reference to the exceptions to this right that have been established over the last 200+ years. The opinion rewrites SCOTUS history. This is an incomprehensible position for a majority conservative opinion. Precedent, whether in terms of SCOTUS, legislation, or political philosophy ought to be of first order importance to conservative members of SCOTUS. Here these justices seem quite willing to give up their conservative legal philosophies to aid corporations. Even more interesting since “commercial advertising” has been one of the free speech exceptions for nearly a century. The morality and honesty of this opinion is certainly questionable. SCOTUS justices can be impeached. This opinion appears to me at least to be an impeachable action by these justices.

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