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Knowledge at work: Some neoliberal anachronisms

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  • Geoffrey Hodgson

Abstract

With a predilection for market solutions, neoliberalism upholds that the individual is generally the best judge of his or her interests. Yet markets are never universally applied as a mechanism of allocation and there are reasons, in principle, why capitalism will always have “missing markets.” Concentrating on the application and appropriateness of neoliberal theory to the workplace, this article argues that firms are not markets, despite some tendencies in modern theory to conflate the two. The employment contract is a key characteristic of modern firms, but neoliberal theory is often silent on the distinction between an employment contract and a contract for services, and largely ignores the asymmetrical rights of authority within contracts of employment. Furthermore, the social nature of knowledge represents a challenge to neoliberal theory and policy, because it sometimes makes it more difficult to define individual property rights. Accordingly, with the growth of the knowledge economy, neoliberalism to some extent is an anachronism.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Review of Social Economy.

Volume (Year): 63 (2005)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 547-565

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Handle: RePEc:taf:rsocec:v:63:y:2005:i:4:p:547-565

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Related research

Keywords: neoliberalism; firms; markets; employment contracts; knowledge; Veblen; Hobson;

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Cited by:
  1. Elsner, Wolfram & Hocker, Gero & Schwardt, Henning, 2009. "Simplistic vs. Complex Organization: Markets, Hierarchies, and Networks in an 'Organizational Triangle'," MPRA Paper 14315, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Rojhat Avsar, 2008. "A Critique of ‘Neoliberal Autonomy’: The Rhetoric of Ownership Society," Forum for Social Economics, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 125-134, August.

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