Moral Markets: How Knowledge and Affluence Change Consumers and Products

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Market theories still widely in use today emerged in a society that no longer exists. Consumers were hardly in evidence at all in early theories of the market. Today, growing affluence, greater knowledge, and high-speed communication among consumers build into the marketplace notions of fairness, solidarity, environment, health, and political considerations imbued with a long-term perspective that can disrupt short-term pursuits of the best buy. Importantly, such social goals, individual apprehensions, and modes of consumer conduct become inscribed today in products and services offered in the marketplace as well as in the rules and regulations that govern market relations.

About the Author:
Nico Stehr is Karl Mannheim Professor of Cultural Studies at the Zeppelin University, Friedrichshafen, Germany

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Nico Stehr has written the most interesting book on the sociology of markets in recent times, one that deserves a wide audience across the humanities and social sciences. To those for whom society is a defunct idea, Stehr counters with an account of consumers in affluent societies as capable of bending the market to their collective will in ways that enable them to exercise the sort of power that in the past would have been treated as ‘political.’ The book provides us with everything we need to decide whether this is a good or bad development. In any case, Stehr has succeeded in restoring a sociologically robust conception of the market.”

Moral Markets constitutes a very innovative approach in the analysis of markets as sociocultural practices emphasizing their embedment in different historical and social contexts, strongly emphasizing the specific moral dimensions of markets in the contemporary scene, especially in relation to the expansion of knowledge, problems of biotechnologies, and environment. It also constitutes a very challenging and important addition to the analysis of the contemporary scene and is highly recommended for sociologists, politicians, economists, and philosophers.”

"... a charmingly provocative analysis of the concept of the moralized market".

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594514562
  • Publisher: Paradigm Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/28/2007
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Nico Stehr is Karl Mannheim Professor of Cultural Studies at the Zeppelin University, Friedrichshafen, Germany. During the academic year 2002/2003 he was Paul F. Lazarsfeld Professor at the University of Vienna. Among his recent book publications are Knowledge and Economic Conduct: The Social Foundations of the Modern Economy (University of Toronto Press, 2002).
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Table of Contents

Preface     vii
Overview     xiv
Introduction     1
World-views, Economic Conduct, and Social Progress     1
The Authority of Economic Man     5
The Decline of Economic Man     7
The Moralization of Economic Affairs     15
The Dynamics of Modern Societies     17
The Virtues of Market Conduct     26
Encircling the Concept of the Moralization of the Markets     29
The Genealogy of Markets: Why Do Markets Exist?     43
The Social Origins of the Market     44
Liberty as the Daughter of Markets     46
The Loss of Freedom Through Freedom     47
Homo Rationalis     49
The Competition among Market Conceptions     53
The Classical Conception of the Market     53
The Great Transformation     55
The Neoclassical View of Market Behavior     57
The Unity of the Market in Its Diversity     62
The Evolutionary Perspective of the Market     64
The Economy of Love and Fear     65
Economies Move Societies     68
Markets as Sociocultural Practices     79
The Critique and the Practical Usefulness of the Standard Model of the Market     80
Sociological Perspectives     82
The Contradictory Critique of the Standard Model of the Market     85
Social Markets: Five Stipulations     87
Explicating the Five Stipulations     89
The Foundations of the Moralization of the Markets     103
Markets, Biotechnology, and Environment     105
Biotechnology Products     107
Environment and Markets     108
Modernity and Morality     109
The Civilization of Capitalism     111
The Logic of Modernity     113
The Knowledge-based Modern Economy     115
The Dawn of Affluent Societies     121
Many Are Well Off     124
The Poverty of Affluence     127
The Advent of Mass Society     134
New Dangers of Prosperity     140
Mass Consumption     144
The Embedded Consumer     146
Knowledgeability and Economic Conduct     161
Human Capital     162
Cultural Capital     163
Knowledge as a Capacity to Act     167
Biotechnology, Environment, and the Market     175
The Commonalities of Biotechnology and the Environment     175
The Market for Biotechnological Processes and Products     178
The Empirical Evidence     182
The Environment and the Market     186
The Empirical Evidence     188
The Extension of the Moral Bases of Economic Conduct     197
Economic Growth and the Moralization of the Markets     197
The Globalization of the World     201
Markets in an Age of Ecological and Global Modernization     205
Conclusions and Prospects     211
Statistical Appendix     217
Bibliography     225
Name Index     261
Subject Index     266
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