The State of Society

We are taught to think of the outcomes of ‘free’ markets as somehow predestined by a deity whose invisible hand, to use a favourite phrase of the neoliberal economic convention, determines the result of the machinations of markets. Whether it be the purchasing decisions people make, the wages they receive for their labour or the wider costs of maintaining civil society, we believe these to be outside the influence of human agency – a consequence of immutable factors over which no individual or state can or should have significant, or any, influence. However, we do not have to be resigned to the conclusions of the market.

Markets are a social construction derived from human agency. The mechanisms that underly them were formed in the bowels of human thought, not in the enlightened mind of an omnipotent god, and the individuals and organisations whose decisions drive them are subject to the emotions and moral deliberations that characterise human nature…

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