The political economy of markets

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The word market is widely used in contemporary economic and political discourse, but usually without any clear sense of what it means or is meant to refer to. In a literal sense, people do not know what they are talking about. The first part of the essay therefore examines the question: what is a market?
The answer is that a market is an economic institution, i.e. a set/system of rules that structures, regulates or governs a particular set of activities involving exchange of goods and services. It encompasses both the system of rules and the activities governed by them and it serves a specific, particular purpose or function, which is to reduce the costs of exchange transactions

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