material aspects of economic life and in presenting an overly benign view which underestimates the
instrumentality of most economic relations. Finally, I conclude with a reminder
of the political significance of explanations of markets and competition.
The multiple meanings of ‘market’1
If we are to discuss market relations and competition, we need to be clear on
what the former involve. However, such is the variety of uses of the term
‘market’ that it is important to distinguish them if we are not to talk at
crossed purposes. As Maureen Mackintosh observes, these are
responsibility for provision and a system of incentives, controls and overview mechanisms for enforcing accountability. These
two aspects of governing systems show up in political science as, on the one
side, political process and policy making, and, on the other side, matters of
administration and implementation. In economics the former clearly relates to
the organisation of demand and the latter to the organisation of supply.
Market organisation clearly provides one kind of governance system, in
the sense above, and one that is widely used. However, while the conventional