LPE Originals

The Politics of Price Making: Why LPE Needs to Engage with Market Design

Once we recognize (yet again) that price making cannot be understood in neutral, functionalist terms, efforts to design new markets become impossible to separate from politics and political economy. Viewed in this way, prices are not simply signals or pieces of information that emerge from markets, but also objects of struggle—an insight that one can find in Max Weber’s understanding of markets and prices, in Joan Robinson’s vigorous mid-century critique of mainstream economics, as well as in the work of institutional economists and legal realists, such as John Commons and Robert Lee Hale who viewed prices and price relationships in the context of a broader economy of mutual coercion structured by shifting sets of background entitlements.