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The Myth Of Marketization

C. Williams
Published 2004 · Economics

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Across the social sciences, a recurring theme is that market production, where goods and services are produced for monetized exchange by capitalist firms for profitmotivated purposes, is replacing non-market production in the advanced economies. The aim of this article is to evaluate critically this marketization thesis. Analysing data on the volume of market and non-market activity in the advanced economies, it reveals not only the relatively shallow penetration of the market sphere but also how for some four decades, contrary to the marketization thesis, the market sphere does not appear to have grown relative to the nonmarket realm. Here, therefore, the view that non-market activity is a vestige of a pre-capitalist past is rejected and its persistence and growth are instead explained in terms of both the prevalence of resistance cultures to marketism and the inherent contradictions embedded in the pursuit of marketization. The article thus concludes with a call to transcend the currently dominant view that the market is victorious, pervasive and hegemonic, and for greater recognition and value to be given to the non-market realm as well as the possibility of alternative futures beyond marketization.
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