The Surprising Design of Market Economies by Alex MarshallThe Surprising Design of Market Economies by Alex Marshall

The Surprising Design of Market Economies

byAlex Marshall

Paperback | February 1, 2014

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The "free market" has been a hot topic of debate for decades. Proponents tout it as a cure-all for just about everything that ails modern society, while opponents blame it for the very same ills. But the heated rhetoric obscures one very important, indeed fundamental, fact—markets don't just run themselves; we create them.

Starting from this surprisingly simple, yet often ignored or misunderstood fact, Alex Marshall takes us on a fascinating tour of the fundamentals that shape markets and, through them, our daily economic lives. He debunks the myth of the "free market," showing how markets could not exist without governments to create the structures through which we assert ownership of property, real and intellectual, and conduct business of all kinds. Marshall also takes a wide-ranging look at many other structures that make markets possible, including physical infrastructure ranging from roads and railroads to water systems and power lines; mental and cultural structures such as common languages and bodies of knowledge; and the international structures that allow goods, services, cash, bytes, and bits to flow freely around the globe.

Sure to stimulate a lively public conversation about the design of markets, this broadly accessible overview of how a market economy is constructed will help us create markets that are fairer, more prosperous, more creative, and more beautiful.

From the way roads and rails shape our cities to the way laws shape our economies, Alex Marshall has long sought and explored the underlying systems that shape our worlds. A journalist, writer, and former Loeb Fellow at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, he is the author of How Cities Work: Suburbs, Sprawl, and the Roads ...
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Title:The Surprising Design of Market EconomiesFormat:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.82 inPublished:February 1, 2014Publisher:University Of Texas PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292756755

ISBN - 13:9780292756755

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Table of Contents

Introduction. The Designer Disappears: Markets and Their Makers

Section One. On the Books: The Markets We Make by Law

  • Chapter One. Coming into Being: In Praise of Markets
  • Chapter Two. Me and Mine: Property, the First Market
  • Chapter Three. Lex Non Scripta: The Laws We Don't Make, or, the Common Law
  • Chapter Four. I Am My Brother's Keeper: Cooperatives
  • Chapter Five. Trust: How We Cooperate to Compete
  • Chapter Six. Staking Claims on the Mind: Intellectual Property
  • Chapter Seven. Little Commonwealths: Corporations and the State That Creates Them
  • Chapter Eight. The Future of Corporations

Section Two. Infrastructure: The Markets We Make by Hand

  • Chapter Nine. From Highways to Health Care: Progress through Infrastructure
  • Chapter Ten. Making Places
  • Chapter Eleven. The Great Nineteenth-Century Train Robbery
  • Chapter Twelve. A Socialist Paradise: The American Road System
  • Chapter Thirteen. Waiting for a Train Station
  • Chapter Fourteen. What We Did Before: Path Dependence and Markets
  • Chapter Fifteen. Police and Prisons: Freedom, Security, and Democracy
  • Chapter Sixteen. Why Don't You Make Me? Government and Force

Section Three. Seeding the Fields: The Markets We Make in Our Minds

  • Chapter Seventeen. Common Tongue, Common Culture, Common Markets

Section Four. The Markets We Build Abroad

  • Chapter Eighteen. By Your Bootstraps: Developing Countries and Markets
  • Chapter Nineteen. Last Night upon the Stairs: International Law

Section Five. Looking Forward: Making Better Markets

  • Conclusion. Making Better Markets
  • Afterword. My Own Story: A Circuitous Journey
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Selected Bibliography
  • Index

Editorial Reviews

The "free market" has been a hot topic of debate for decades. Proponents tout it as a cure-all for just about everything that ails modern society, while opponents blame it for the very same ills. But the heated rhetoric obscures one very important, indeed fundamental, fact—markets don't just run themselves; we create them.Starting from this surprisingly simple, yet often ignored or misunderstood fact, Alex Marshall takes us on a fascinating tour of the fundamentals that shape markets and, through them, our daily economic lives. He debunks the myth of the "free market," showing how markets could not exist without governments to create the structures through which we assert ownership of property, real and intellectual, and conduct business of all kinds. Marshall also takes a wide-ranging look at many other structures that make markets possible, including physical infrastructure ranging from roads and railroads to water systems and power lines; mental and cultural structures such as common languages and bodies of knowledge; and the international structures that allow goods, services, cash, bytes, and bits to flow freely around the globe.Sure to stimulate a lively public conversation about the design of markets, this broadly accessible overview of how a market economy is constructed will help us create markets that are fairer, more prosperous, more creative, and more beautiful."We make the rules and the rules make us. So argues Alex Marshall in this brilliant and fascinating exploration of the nature and human design of markets. A must read." - David Morris, Cofounder, Institute for Local Self-Reliance