Book

Markets, community, and just infrastructures (2020)

in: Routledge frontiers of political economy

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Abstract

A series of market-related crises over the past two decades - financial, environmental, health, education, poverty - reinvigorated the debate about markets and social justice. Since then, counter-hegemonic movements all over the globe are attempting to redefine markets and the meaning of economic enterprise in people's daily lives. Assessments of market outcomes tend toward the polemical, with capitalists and socialists, globalization advocates and anti-globalization movements, those on the political right and those on the left, all facing off to argue the benefits or harms brought about by markets. Yet not enough attention has been paid to analyzing the conditions under which markets result in just outcomes. This book explores how culture, politics, and ideology help shape market incentives in an attempt to reclaim the language of economic rationality and the policymaking legitimacy that accompanies it. Through a variety of case studies - labor relations in the U.S. meatpacking industry, the globalization process in Juarez, Mexico, financial reform in Cuba, and an interfaith Ugandan coffee cooperative - this book provides a framework for understanding the conditions under which markets promote just or unjust outcomes (e.g., discrimination, income inequality, environmental degradation, or racial justice, human rights, and equitable growth). This book touches on subject matter as varied as food, religion, banking, and race and gender equality, from a multi-disciplinary perspective. It offers an analysis of markets based on community rather than pure individualism that has the potential to change the way we think about economic rationality. An accessible and compelling read, this book will appeal to students and scholars in political science, economics, sociology, geography, gender studies, critical race studies, environmental studies, and all those interested in the critique of mainstream economics and neoliberal logic.