By Nico Stehr

Moral Markets; How Knowledge and Affluence Change Consumers and Products
ISBN: 9781317255932
Pages: 288
Pages: 288

Nothing affects modern society more than the decisions made in the marketplace, especially (but not only) the judgments of consumers. Stehr's designation of a new stage in modern societies with the term "moral markets" signals a further development in the social evolution of markets. Market theories still widely in use today emerged in a society that no longer exists. Consumers were hardly in evidence at all in early theories of the market. Today, growing affluence, greater knowledge, and high-speed communication among consumers builds into the marketplace notions of fairness, solidarity, environment, health, and political considerations imbued with a long-term perspective that can disrupt short-term pursuits of the best buy. Importantly, such social goals, individual apprehensions, and modes of consumer conduct become inscribed today in products and services offered in the marketplace, as well as in the rules and regulations that govern market relations. Stehr uses examples to illustrate these trends and build new theory fitting today's changing consumerism.

Reviews:Vince Carducci on Canadian Journal of Sociology wrote:

"The central thesis of this book by Nico Stehr is straightforwardly announced by its title [...] In making his case, Stehr first surveys endogenous economic critiques of the neoclassical market perspective. [...] This is buttressed by exogenous critiques from the other social sciences, especially sociology. [...] The theoretical argument is augmented with empirical evidence [...] Aspects of Stehr’s thesis might be challenged in some quarters. [...] Stehr’s interpretation of certain economic data might also be questioned. [...] In the preface Stehr writes that the trend of market moralization is bound to expand and get stronger as time goes on, that is, “unless the regime of the dynamic economy we have known for the last fifty years collapses” (p. xii). With that event seemingly at hand, Stehr’s book faces a more stringent test than any review could give it."

Nico Stehr

About Nico Stehr

Nico Stehr (born 19 March 1942) is "Karl Mannheim Professor for Cultural Studies" at the Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen / Germany and Founding Director of the European Center for Sustainability Research.

Table of Contents

Open the link to see the abstract for that chapter, or visit the overview page with all abstracts on the publisher's website.

  1. The Moralization of Economic Affairs
  2. The Genealogy of Markets: Why Do Markets Exist?
  3. The Competition among Market Conceptions
  4. Markets as Sociocultural Practices
  5. The Foundations of the Moralization of the Markets
  6. The Dawn of Affluent Societies
  7. Knowledgeability and Economic Conduct
  8. Biotechnology, Environment, and the Market
  9. The Extension of the Moral Bases of Economic Conduct