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Market and society: how do they relate and how do they contribute to welfare?

Dolfsma, W. and Finch, J.H. and McMaster, R. (2005) Market and society: how do they relate and how do they contribute to welfare? Journal of Economic Issues, 39 (2). pp. 347-356. ISSN 0021-3624

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Abstract

The relationship between market and society is a hotly debated issue in the social sciences. At the level of theory, this discourse dates back to considerations of social order in which Thomas Hobbes, Adam Smith, and David Hume were among the most important early contributors. The discussion has considerable ideological overtones as well, where the contribution of the market to welfare and well-being is at stake. Welfare is usually conceptualized in material terms, and we surmise that both market and society can contribute to welfare and well-being. There are spheres outside of the domain of the market that contribute to well-being, and a certain accomplishment in the market can contribute to well-being that is not captured in welfare. In this paper the author's do not deny that. They conceptualize the relation between market and society, focusing more specifically on periods of reform.