The Myth of Marketization: An Evaluation of the Persistence of Non-Market Activities in Advanced Economies

International Sociology, December 2004, Vol. 19(4): 437-449

14 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2013

See all articles by Colin Williams

Colin Williams

University of Sheffield - School of Management

Date Written: 2004

Abstract

Across the social sciences, a recurring theme is that market production, where goods and services are produced for monetized exchange by capitalist firms for profit-motivated purposes, has replaced non-market production in the advanced economies. The aim of this paper is to evaluate critically this marketization thesis. Analyzing data on the volume of market and non-market activity, this paper reveals not only the relatively shallow penetration of the market sphere but also how for some four decades, contrary to the marketization thesis, the non-market sphere has been growing relative to the market realm. Rather than view non-market activity as a vestige of a pre-capitalist past, this paper thus explains the persistence and growth of non-market activity as a product of both the prevalence of resistance cultures to marketism and the inherent contradictions embedded in the pursuit of marketization. The paper thus concludes that not only is there a need to decentre representations of the market as victorious, pervasive and hegemonic, but also for greater recognition and value to be given to the non-market realm and the possibility of alternative futures beyond marketization.

Keywords: informal economy, informal sector, marketization, capitalism, economic development, commercialization, commodification

JEL Classification: O17, H26, H31

Suggested Citation

Williams, Colin, The Myth of Marketization: An Evaluation of the Persistence of Non-Market Activities in Advanced Economies (2004). International Sociology, December 2004, Vol. 19(4): 437-449, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2290768

Colin Williams (Contact Author)

University of Sheffield - School of Management ( email )

15 Conduit Road
Sheffield, S10 1FL
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/management/staff/williams/index

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