Re: [OPE-L] Marx and markets

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Tue Jan 10 2006 - 19:16:14 EST

> A more
> balanced view of markets would acknowledge they can create both great
> personal freedom and brutal exploitation, i.e. precisely that markets
> provide no particular morality of their own, anymore than that they can
> cancel out the sectional interests of social classes and nations.

Hi Jurriaan,

What are the freedoms that are created by markets?  Of course, we
know about free labor, i.e. the right and ability to offer one's
labour power for sale in exchange for a wage.  Yet, this freedom
is also the freedom to be exploited.  Mainstream economic theory
emphasizes freedom in the concept of consumer sovereignty but
they posit a topsy-turvy world in which consumers control the
marketplace and firms follow the marching orders of consumers.  This,
though, is dependent on the assumptions of perfect competition and
perfect information, which in turn assumes that firms engage in no
advertising or marketing.  To say the least, that is counter-factual.  So
... I am very leery about conceding the point that in some
meaningful way markets promote freedom unless it is in some nominal
and/or double-edged way, e.g. starving people have the freedom to starve
to death if they can't afford food; homeless have the freedom to
be homeless -- even when they want to be housed -- if they lack
the money required to obtain housing, etc.

In solidarity, Jerry

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