Markets and Civil Society

Markets and Civil Society: The European Experience in Comparative Perspective

Edited by Víctor Pérez-Díaz
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 278
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  • Book Info
    Markets and Civil Society
    Book Description:

    The nature of the currently emerging European society, which includes the economic and social transformation of Eastern and Central European countries, has been hotly debated. At its center is the relationship between markets and civil society within political and social contexts. The contributors to this volume offer perspectives from various disciplines (the social sciences, conceptual history, law, economics) and from several European countries in order to explore the ways in which markets influence various forms of civil society, such as individual freedom, social cohesion, economic effectiveness and democratic governance, and influence the construction of a civil society in a broader sense.

    eISBN: 978-1-84545-937-6
    Subjects: History, Political Science, Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. viii-x)
  5. Editors’ Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    Dieter Gosewinkel and Jürgen Kocka
  6. Introduction: Free Markets, Civil Societies and a Liberal Polity
    (pp. 1-24)
    Víctor Pérez-Díaz

    This book is about connections between free markets, civil societies and liberal democratic polities. The point of this introduction is to highlight how these institutions should be seen as parts of an inter-connected whole. They refer to spheres of social life which tend to reinforce each other, and there are crucial institutional correspondences between them. From this viewpoint, these concepts point to, and complement, each other, and they belong in the same semantic field (Eco 1979).

    This holistic view suggests a return of sorts to the past, to a variant of the old conception of classical liberalism; but such a...

    • Chapter 1 Markets as Conversations: Markets’ Contributions to Civility, the Public Sphere and Civil Society at Large
      (pp. 27-76)
      Víctor Pérez-Díaz

      The economy is embedded in politics and society, as today’s neo-institutional and Austrian economists as well as economic sociologists point out (Boettke and Storr 2002; Granovetter 1992; North 2005; Swedberg 2005a, 2005b), and historians have known for long (Braudel 1973: 444), but the reverse is equally true.¹ We should understand the different ways of functioning of these spheres and how the boundaries between them are maintained, but also how these spheres complement and reinforce each other and how their boundaries are continually crossed. Markets are influenced by politics and society while market experiences shape each one of them in return....

    • Chapter 2 An Entrepreneurial Theory of Social and Cultural Change
      (pp. 77-103)
      Peter J. Boettke and Christopher J. Coyne

      On a daily basis, each and every individual faces a multitude of scenarios containing coordination aspects. Etiquette, marriage, fashion, eating and drinking habits are but a few examples of situations that possess coordination characteristics. To illustrate this, consider Thomas Schelling’s (1960: 54–58) famous example of picking a meeting place in New York City. If the individuals in this situation can coordinate their activities and meet at the same location at the same time, both will be better off. However, if they fail to coordinate on the same location or the same time, both fail to gain some positive payoff....

    • Chapter 3 Civil Society Elements in European Court Systems: Towards a Comparative Analysis with Partial Reference to Economic Factors
      (pp. 104-131)
      Stefan Voigt

      Until the middle of the nineteenth century, England knew only one form of trial, namely, trial by jury (Lloyd-Bostock and Thomas 2000:55). Today, trial by jury is the exception rather than the rule even in countries where this kind of adjudication is part of the national heritage, such as England. All across Europe, civil cases are hardly ever tried by jury today and the percentage of criminal cases is often only around 1 percent of the total, if the institution of the jury exists at all. So why bother to deal with a topic of seemingly little relevance? There are...

    • Chapter 4 Dispute Resolution Systems and Global Markets: Why Arbitration?
      (pp. 132-148)
      Javier Díez-Hochleitner and Jesús Remón

      The culture of civility, which values individual autonomy, encourages freedom of association and praises commitment in pursuit of general objectives, was for a long time circumscribed in most cases by a state’s political boundaries. Nowadays, this civic awareness knows no boundaries whatsoever. On the contrary, states have to face a global debate¹ on new transnational² concerns (human rights, the environment, labor standards, etc.).

      The emergence of theinternational civil society,³ within the framework of so-calledglobalization(seeinfra), and the increase in international economic relations is causing a thorough transformation of the international society. Together with states and international organizations, ‘non-state...

    • Chapter 5 Consumer Credit and Society in Transition Countries
      (pp. 151-178)
      Akos Rona-Tas

      In much of the developed and developing world the 1990s saw a large increase in consumer credit. In OECD countries, just in the last half decade of the last millennium household debt as a ratio of household income rose from 78 percent to 96 percent (Babeau and Sbano 2003; Christensen and Mathiasen 2002). In post-communist transition countries, consumer credit is still a relative novelty but its pace of growth was even more impressive (Cottarelli et al. 2003). Between 1997 and 2001, consumer lending in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic grew by 26 percent annually¹ while other countries in the...

    • Chapter 6 The Politics of Civic Combinations
      (pp. 179-201)
      Laszlo Bruszt and Balazs Vedres

      Over the last decade, social and developmental partnerships have increasingly involved civic organizations. The emergence of these new localized developmental partnership forms originates from a previous episode of institutional experimentation.¹ Faced with the failures of various market-and state-led developmental programs, national governments, international financial institutions and multilateral development agencies search for a third way, or a new way to organize development (Evans 1997; Howell and Pearce 2002). With the goals of inducing economic growth, furthering the development of market institutions or increasing social and economic cohesion, international developmental agencies have played a major role in reviving the search for ways...

    • Chapter 7 Informal Intermediaries and Civic Organizations in State-Business Relationships in Russia
      (pp. 202-221)
      Irina Olimpieva

      The development of a robust rule-of-law environment can be regarded as a key factor in Russia’s transition. The rule of law will not be established either in political institutions or popular perceptions unless it is accepted in the business sphere, which represents one of the main arenas of postsocialist transformation. However, numerous studies of market economy development in post-reform Russia demonstrate the increasing role of informal rules, the ‘deformalization’ of economic institutions attesting to the substitution of informal rules for formal ones, and the domination of parallel informal institutions in either ‘horizontal’ business interactions or ‘vertical’ relationships between businesspeople and...

    • Chapter 8 Entrepreneurs, Consumers and Civility: The Case of Poland
      (pp. 222-239)
      Andrzej Rychard

      The aim of this chapter is to answer the question as to what degree economic participation in a post-communist country can contribute to the building of civil society.¹ The point of departure for this analysis is the fact that Poles’ participation in politics is relatively weak – as it is in wider public activity – while their participation in the market is comparatively stronger. It is not my intention to prove that one kind of participation can replace the other, and I am not therefore asserting that since politics is failing to build civil society, the market can accomplish the job ‘in...

    • Chapter 9 Conclusions and Suggestions for Further Research
      (pp. 240-253)
      Víctor Pérez-Díaz

      Although markets, civil societies and liberal democratic polities are part of a unified system of action and meaning, the variety of angles and topics dealt with in the chapters of this book bears witness to a wide range of variations regarding each of these components of the system and the relations among them. Civil societies come in many different ways both historically and geographically, and the same applies to markets (Swedberg 1994, 2005; Uzzi 1997) and to liberal democratic polities (and to their combination); indeed, the very logic of a decentralized system of decisions and experimentations suggests endless variations.


  9. Index
    (pp. 254-264)