A model of dynamic balance among the three spheres of society – markets, governments, and communities: Applied to understanding the relative importance of social capital and social goods
AbstractPurpose – The purpose of this paper is to revisit old questions of the proper subject and bounds of economics: does economics study “provisioning”? or markets? or a method of reasoning, self-interested rational optimization? Design/methodology/approach – A variety of scholars and others in many fields make use of a taxonomy of society consisting of three “spheres”: markets, governments, and communities. It is argued here that this tripartite taxonomy of society is fundamental and exhaustive. A variety of ways of understanding this taxonomy are explored, especially Fiske's “Relational models theory.” Then – after communities and their products, social goods, are defined more thoroughly – a visual model of interactions among the three spheres is presented. Findings – The model is first used briefly to understand the historical development of markets. The model is then applied to understanding how economic thinking and market ideology, including the notion of social capital, can be destructive of communities and their production of social goods (and their production of social capital as well). Research limitations/implications – It is not possible to measure these effects monetarily, so calculating precisely “how this affects results” in a standard economic model is impossible. Practical implications – Nevertheless, better preparation of students for real-world analysis, and better serving the clients, including the public, if – whenever relevant, such as in textbook introductions and in benefit/cost analyses – awareness of the limitations of economic analysis with respect to communities and social goods was made. Originality/value – The three-spheres model offered here, based on Fiske's “Relational models theory,” facilitates this awareness.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal International Journal of Social Economics.
Volume (Year): 36 (2009)
Issue (Month): 5 (April)
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Other versions of this item:
- Wicks, Rick, 2008. "A Model of Dynamic Balance among the Three Spheres of Society – Markets, Governments, and Communities – Applied to Understanding the Relative Importance of Social Capital and Social Goods," Working Papers in Economics 292, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 01 Jan 2009.
- A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
- A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
- B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Institutional; Evolutionary
- D20 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - General
- H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General
- O30 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
- P - Economic Systems
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