The Foundations of a Market Economy: Contract, Consent, Coercion
University of Athens – Department of Philosophy & History of Science
Aristides N. Hatzis
University of Athens - Department of Philosophy & History of Science; University of Athens - Faculty of Law; Athens University of Economics and Business - Department of Economics
May 26, 2009
European View, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 29-37, June 2009
This article shows how contracts are the institutional foundation of a market economy. Contracts create wealth, allocate risk and are based on consent. There is no perfect competition and the markets are characterized by a number of failures; therefore, contracts are not perfect. However, the existence of these failures does not undermine the importance of contract and consent. A common critique of the market economy is that most transactions are based on some form of coercion. The authors try to address this misconception by showing that a contract is the result of coercion not in cases where a choice is hard for a party but when it offers a choice the party does not want to have.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 9
Keywords: Contract, Consent, Coercion, Market economy, Market failures, Rationality, Perfect competition, Uncertainty
JEL Classification: B40, D02, D63, D81, D86, K12
Date posted: December 30, 2009 ; Last revised: July 15, 2012
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