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, subjectification – needs and objects are both matters of perception and opinion. Social materiality is detached from social process, either by taking it as given or by rendering it arbitrary. Each strategy achieves a stabilisation of 98 Don Slater goods as things that establishes the market as a stable methodological object of knowledge and a presumed framework of normative social action. And yet this assumption of stable homogenous goods runs counter both to common sense and to actual economic practice. Firstly, we know not only that goods change over time in a physical

in Market relations and the competitive process
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points out, varies over time. A strong position on embeddedness would maintain that there are different types of market transaction, but no autonomous market logic independent of a specific social integument. All markets depend on institutional framing which is historically constituted. Specific markets are not natural: they are not given and they have no automatic outcomes. All markets have a history, and the rules that might govern those particular markets are built up over time through adaptive practices of production, consumption and exchange. Economic theory has

in Market relations and the competitive process
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coming to mirror theory through the policy and practice of the powerful. We would not go so far as to say that the discourse of the virtuous market has created the institutional forms that it (mis)describes. Nevertheless, there are many potential ways in which the attribution of positive functions to market relations would affect understandings of reality and thus economic, political and social action. What we find most striking is the extent to which the market is considered to be without stain in the current period. Unparalleled, if not entirely unprecedented

in Market relations and the competitive process
Problems of polysemy and idealism

market exchange as the atomic structure of all economic processes, and as the default form of economic co-ordination, so that any other forms of organisation are either marginalised or treated as problematic exceptions. The second target of critique concerns literature on the socially embedded character of economic processes, on the nature of networks, and the role of trust. While largely endorsing the importance attached to these factors in recent literature, I argue that their treatment has suffered frequently from being idealist, both in the sense of underestimating

in Market relations and the competitive process
Constituting the cultural economy

). Industrial atmosphere, it should be noted, is not simply a question of ambience, but finds its material expression in routines, in practices and in norms of social exchange. Highly spatialised network relations in this sense mirror the role of the firm as milieu, providing a context for the development of collective as well as individual knowledge, competences, routines and norms. This indicates how networks can evince certain organisational qualities while remaining relatively ‘informal’, but also gestures to the point at which economic networks ‘harden’ into more durable

in Market relations and the competitive process

competition based on strategic differentiation.1 Low barriers to entry into clusters, levels of ‘social capital’ ensuring free flows of information, absence of formal contractual requirements resulting from a level of common purpose, combined with an exactly right dose of rivalry in the cluster,2 are thus empirical characteristics, ones given the normative seal of approval. Empirical cases, such as the birth of the Medtronics’ pacemaker cluster in Minneapolis, are thus woven into the narrative as ‘exemplary’ events as much as evidential demonstration. Cartels are bad (they

in Market relations and the competitive process
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Post-crisis Asia – economic recovery, September 11, 2001 and the challenges ahead

1997. In particular, while the El Niño and La Niña weather phenomena devastated agricultural production in 1997–98, the favorable weather conditions in 1999 and the first half of 2000 have helped Indonesia and the Philippines to reap bumper crops of rice and other basic agricultural commodities. In addition to creating agricultural employment, this has also eased burdens 343 The Asian financial crisis on the overstretched social safety nets and enabled vulnerable households better to meet their consumption needs. The global economic slowdown and September 11, 2001

in The Asian financial crisis
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economists to have shared Herbert Simon’s view (1976: xii) that the premisses should be the unit of analysis; but even though it is standard practice to explain differences in behaviour, including changes in behaviour over time, by differences in the premisses from which behaviour is deduced – usually differences in opportunity sets, and often with specific emphasis on incentive structures – these differences are not themselves investigated. The reason is that decision premisses are assumed to reflect precisely the fundamentals of economic analysis; they are therefore

in Market relations and the competitive process
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Crisis, reform and recovery

respected technocrats in the finance ministry and at the Bank of Thailand (BOT), the country’s central bank?3 As Siamwalla (1998, 9) states, “in a country in which corruption is rife, the Bank of Thailand is considered to be the only institution where it was unthinkable that any corrupt practices could be found. This reputation of incorruptibility gave it considerable moral authority and prestige and allowed it to enjoy de facto autonomy, overriding its de jure subservience to the Minister of Finance.” Moreover, the BOT had a well-earned reputation for prudent

in The Asian financial crisis
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Crisis, reform and recovery

. For example, Korea, like many other Asian economies, provided implicit guarantees to the banking system. This meant that banks were often engaged in lending practices that favored financially connected (and not always unqualified) borrowers – in particular, the chaebols or big family-controlled conglomerates. These implicit guarantees led banks to lend recklessly. This, in conjunction with poor corporate governance, created a stock of non-performing loans, thereby risking bank collapses (Corsetti, Pesenti and Roubini 1998). The Economist (1997, November 15, 33) is

in The Asian financial crisis