Following the failure of 'really existing socialism' in Eastern Europe and Asia, the market is now generally perceived, by Left and Right, to be supreme in any rational economic system. The current debate now focuses on the proper boundaries of markets rather than the system itself. This book examines the problems of defining these boundaries for the recent defences of the market, and shows that they highlight major weaknesses in the cases made by its proponents.
The author draws on considerable research in this area to provide an overdue critical evaluation of the limits of the market, and future prospects for non-market socialism. The issues discussed cross a number of academic boundaries including economics, philosophy and politics.
'I thoroughly recommend [the book] to historians of thought as well as philosophers interested in economic issues and economists interested in some of the most fascinating strands of thoughts in economics. ' - European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 6, 1999
'This book is accessible and thought-provoking as well as being highly eclectic in terms of the disciplines covered[A] superb work. ' - Economics and Philosophy, 15, 1999
'This is an excellent book[The book] is closely argued but very clearly written, thus making it accessible to non-specialists. No one working in the area can fail to learn from it. ' - Philosophical Books, 41, 2000
'an impressive critique which should give defenders of the market on both the left and right pause for thought. ' - Journal of Applied Philosophy, 16, 1999
'[I]f his [next book] is written with the same forensic logic and erudition as The Market, [it] will be another outstanding contribution to British social theory. ' - Economy and Society, 30, 2001
'O'Neill's critique of liberal arguments for markets is substantial and deserves to be widely read. ' - Capital and Class, 71, 2000
'… well argued and thought provoking… this introductory work is encyclopaedic. Readers will find it a useful reference source , even when courses are not constructed around it. This reference function is enhanced by a massive bibliography… students scrabbling for books on a limited reading list will be grateful.' - Political Studies
'… neatly executed… student readership will find this a reliable and useful resource.' - Political Studies
Social Theory is experiencing something of a revival within economics. Critical analyses of the particular nature of the subject matter of social studies and of the types of method, categories and modes of explanation that can legitimately be endorsed for the scientific study of social objects, are re-emerging. Economists are again addressing such issues as the relationship between agency and structure, between economy and the rest of society, and between the enquirer and the object of enquiry. There is a renewed interest in elaborating basic categories such as causation, competition, culture, discrimination, evolution, money, need, order, organization, power probability, process, rationality, technology, time, truth, uncertainty, value etc.
The objective for this series is to facilitate this revival further. In contemporary economics the label “theory” has been appropriated by a group that confines itself to largely asocial, ahistorical, mathematical “modelling”. Economics as Social Theory thus reclaims the “Theory” label, offering a platform for alternative rigorous, but broader and more critical conceptions of theorizing.