Economics and Power: An Inquiry into Human Relations and Markets

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When a marketplace is considered in isolation, the implicit conclusion is that markets are a sufficient defense against the exercise of power. But market transactions do not occur in isolation: they are defined by rules, property rights, prior events, and social values. This book widens the focus of traditional economic analysis to examine the ways in which people may affect each other within and around markets to give rise to real power. Using conventional neoclassical assumptions about human behavior, the book begins by developing a workable concept of power, allowing for its presence in a variety of forms and degrees. It examines the conditions under which power would necessarily be absent from market transactions, and those under which it would be possible. It considers the decision processes of potential exercisers and subjects of power to determine when the exercise and success of power would be rational.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An impressive, well-written book that expands the boundaries of economics and contributes to a realistic theory of economic power." Choice

"Bartlett has made a most valuable contribution--so obvious, yet so long in coming. It is hard to know whether a book such as this will change many minds. Those of us inclined to approach economics from a broader perspective will be most grateful for an analytical concept of power, and for the many insights and illustrations offered by Bartlett. Those inclined to dismiss the analysis of power as appropriate for sociologists and poltical scientists may indeed take note, though it is not certain that they will. The book is certainly well written and makes an important contribution to our long-standing neglect of power." Journal of Economic Literature

"It successfully challenges the neoclassical mainstream on a broad range of basic issues involving power in market systems....For mainstream neoclassical economists who take the time to digest it, Bartlett's book must be most unsettling. For radical economists, even those already well-versed in the discourse on power, it is a valuable resource for deepening their understanding of both the weaknesses of mainstream theory and the strengths of their own alternative." Eric Schutz, Review of Radical Political Economics

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521034623
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface; Part I. The Need for New Theory: 1. Power in economics; Part II. An Economic Theory of Power: 2. An economic concept of power; 3. Decision theory and power; 4. The exercise of power as economic behaviour; Part III. Power and Markets: 5. Information, uncertainty and power; 6. Power and organizations; 7. Power in the employment relation; 8. Rights and power; 9. Value power; Part IV. Power Analysis in Economics: 10. Power and economics; Index.
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