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? Hasn’t ‘the economy’ been around since time immemorial? We now turn to the history of econocracy to show its rise in the second half of the twentieth century. The roots of econocracy The roots of econocracy lie both in the events and ideas of the twentieth century, when innumerable economic institutions devoted to measuring, analysing and managing the economy arose.28 It was during this time that the discipline of economics created the conception of the economy as something that needs to be understood and therefore overseen by experts. Econocracy was born when

in The econocracy
Editors: Stan Metcalfe and Alan Warde

There has been increasing interest and debate in recent years on the instituted nature of economic processes in general and the related ideas of the market and the competitive process in particular. This debate lies at the interface between two largely independent disciplines, economics and sociology, and reflects an attempt to bring the two fields of discourse more closely together. This book explores this interface in a number of ways, looking at the competitive process and market relations from a number of different perspectives. It considers the social role of economic institutions in society and examines the various meanings embedded in the word 'markets', as well as developing arguments on the nature of competition as an instituted economic process. The close of the twentieth century saw a virtual canonisation of markets as the best, indeed the only really effective, way to govern an economic system. The market organisation being canonised was simple and pure, along the lines of the standard textbook model in economics. The book discusses the concepts of polysemy , idealism, cognition, materiality and cultural economy. Michael Best provides an account of regional economic adaptation to changed market circumstances. This is the story of the dynamics of capitalism focused on the resurgence of the Route 128 region around Boston following its decline in the mid-1980s in the face of competition from Silicon Valley. The book also addresses the question of how this resurgence was achieved.

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greatest influence among the Victorians, and then in the late twentieth century withers away and dies’. He asks that we propose ‘more complex narratives of institutional and cultural realignment in which the meaning and practice of thrift ebbs and flows across time and form place to place, buffeted by historical transformations yet capable of being revived and realigned in manifold, often cross-​ cutting ways of restraint and release’ (2013:363). As a result, this book considers thrift through movements as diverse as Puritanism, Keynesianism and Voluntary Simplicity, and

in A brief history of thrift
Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Smiles and Victorian moralism

expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery’ (Dickens, 1992:153).9 In Edith Wharton’s novels in the twentieth century we are presented with visions of a domestic asceticism which serve to counter-​balance, and critique, the decadence of the wealthy. As Carol Singley, a well-​known Wharton scholar, argues, the rise of the thrift movement at the end of the nineteenth century and its expansion through the first decades of the twentieth century

in A brief history of thrift
Open Access (free)

prevailing ethical codes, social mores and political regulation, for ‘markets’ constrain as well as enable. The social and political dimensions of market processes – inequality, fairness, power, uncertainty, status – all influence the range and nature of what takes place in the market context. More deeply still, the acceptance of market processes and the rhetoric with which they are described and assessed tell us a great deal about different kinds of market society. The rhetoric, discourses and doctrine of the market In the middle of the twentieth century, a substantial

in Market relations and the competitive process
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Keynes, consumer rights and the new thrifty consumers

. In this sense such consumers were going against the earlier twentieth-​century ideas of Booker T.  Washington, that constitutional rights would be brought about for Black Americans through thrift, hard work, Christian character and the material advancement this would bring.4 Certainly, the rise of the African-​American shopper brings into question the famous findings of husband and wife team Robert and Helen Lynd, who, in their famous anthropological studies of the fictional city of ‘Middletown’, found that the generally Republican business class grudgingly

in A brief history of thrift
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’t any longer.3 Economics is for everyone precisely because it affects everyone. It is therefore too important to be left to the experts. The gap between experts and citizens has not been created on purpose. Economic experts are not part of a shadowy cabal running society behind the scenes. Instead, the state we are in is the result of a particular set of historical circumstances. In this book we show how the history of economics as a discipline, the political events of the twentieth century and reforms to higher education have combined to create a world where

in The econocracy

economics expert and, by extension, what gives them this authority? As in all professions, the answer is formal education, training and – most importantly – qualifications, which are the concrete proof of their holder’s expertise. The content of economics education is revealing because it reflects the dominant view within the academic discipline of the knowledge and skills economists must have and what the role of an economist should be. It was this insight that inspired Paul Samuelson, one of the most influential economists of the twentieth century, to declare: ‘I don

in The econocracy
Open Access (free)

twentieth century. That political dominance by parties, ideologies and policies 200 Stan Metcalfe and Alan Warde of New Right provenance coincided with increasing inequalities in income within the nation states of the Western world, strikingly so in the USA and Britain, should come as no surprise. Indeed, for Marshall (1950), it was precisely the tendencies of markets to generate material inequalities that called forth welfare provision which might give each citizen sufficient resources to participate fully in social life. Parallel inequalities conceived on a global

in Market relations and the competitive process

and commercial actors both as problems and as opportunities, and, in devising strategies for managing them, those actors also intensify them. The potential destabilisation of social objects is both an inescapable condition of economic action and a way of reconceptualising business strategy. It has been a central axiom of management discourse since the mid-twentieth century (for example, the works of Peter Drucker) that businesses must not try to sell to consumers what they make, but rather to make what the consumer wants. We interpret this as reflecting a transition

in Market relations and the competitive process