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The Institutions of the MarketOrganizations, Social Systems, and Governance$
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Alexander Ebner and Nikolaus Beck

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199231423

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199231423.001.0001

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Myths of the Market

Myths of the Market

(p.131) 6 Myths of the Market
The Institutions of the Market

Neil Fligstein (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter aims to supplement the understanding of entrepreneurship and competition by demonstrating that they cannot occur without governments and stable social structures to support them. It considers two major developments in the American economy that have been typically hailed as emblematic of the working out of free markets: the emergence of the ‘shareholder value’ conception of the firm and the rise and growth of Silicon Valley. It is shown that these phenomena were not just caused by entrepreneurial activity, but were embedded in pre-existing social relations. In both cases, the government played a pivotal role in pushing forward the conditions for ‘entrepreneurial activity’. The chapter discusses why governments sometimes do not figure in either economic or some economic sociological arguments about markets and economic growth, and suggests how an economic sociology with a view of embeddedness that includes governments, law, and supporting institutions offers a more complete picture of market evolution.

Keywords:   entrepreneurship, competition, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, social relations, entrepreneurial activity

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