The Market Experience

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In a period when market economies are widely recognized as the most desirable form of economic organization, Robert Lane offers evidence that the major premises of market economics are mistaken. Lane shows that work, far from being a disutility, as economic theory would have it, is instead one of two major sources of lifetime satisfaction, and that money income, despite being a source of utility that compensates a person for his or her sacrifices at work, contributes very little to a sense of well-being. This reversal of the premises of market economics suggests a major, axial shift in the way we think about our economies. Lane proposes that the market be judged primarily by its capacity to yield two benefits: happiness and personal development, the latter defined as cognitive complexity, autonomy or a sense of being in control of one's own life, and self esteem. Traditional attention to production outputs and economic rewards has, says Lane, blinded us to the important ways in which the processes of production contribute to the two benefits of happiness and personal development. Lane lays the foundation for a form of economic analysis that attends to processes as well as outcomes and by drawing on psychology, sociology, and economic anthropology for extensive evidence employed to support his arguments, he provides the basis for a fundamental change in the way we think about economics and society. Robert Lane is the author of many books and articles, among them Political Life (1959) and Political Man (1972). He is a Past President of the American Political Science Association, Policy Studies Organization and International Society of Political Psychology.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This will surely be one of the most important social science books of the 1990s and beyond. It bridges the social sciences with the ease and confidence only a mature scholar, at the top of his career and intellectual power, can accomplish...Lane writes clearly and powerfully and in terms we all can relate to. He is exceptionally erudite and he draws on, cites, and commands an incredible array of literature." Amitai Etzioni, George Washington University

"Eighteen years in the making and over 600 thickly annotated pages long, Roert Lane's monumental book is a unique and admirable achievement." Contemporary Sociology

"It provides an extremely impressive survey of the material, covering a psychological assessment of cognition, rationality, wage payments, social relations, and so on, all in a market context....In sum, this is an important and stimulating book." Geoff Hodgson, The Journal of Economic Issues

"In all seriousness, this is an extraordinary book in many ways. First, the sweep of its claims is breathtakingly broad and important: they will indeed revolutionize social science and social policy if given the attention they deserve. Second, an array of detailed analyses of social science literatures is brought to bear on the question of what actually happens as people experience the market. Lane analyzes hundreds of psychological experiments, opinion surveys, social theories, and philosophical treatises in the work of examining topics ranging from the meaning of rationality to the meaning of happiness, from the social role of money to the possibility of friendship. His ability to link these narrowly focused studies of particular locales to sweeping generalizations about human nature—and to do so most persuasively—is yet another extraordinary feature of The Market Experience." Jennifer L. Hochschild, American Political Science Review

"Lane has produced a most perceptive intellectual analysis of a major socioeconomic problem. He has raised highly significant questions about consequential issues and has pursued the scholarly literature with diligence and sophistication in his search for answers. And while not all readers will agree with his conclusions, few will go away unimpressed with the style and substance of his landmark contribution." Monroe Friedman, Political Psychology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521407373
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 630
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Part I: Introduction; Part II: Cognition and emotion; Part III: Self-attribution and self-esteem; Part IV: Human relations; Part V: Work; Part VI: Rewards; Part VII: Utility and happiness; Part VIII: Conclusion.

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