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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Geoffrey Hodgson, 2005. "Knowledge at work: Some neoliberal anachronisms," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 63(4), pages 547-565.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:rsocec:v:63:y:2005:i:4:p:547-565
    DOI: 10.1080/00346760500364403
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    Citations

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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. Jonathan Michie (ed.), 2011. "The Handbook of Globalisation, Second Edition," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14082.
    3. Rojhat Avsar, 2008. "A Critique of ‘Neoliberal Autonomy’: The Rhetoric of Ownership Society," Forum for Social Economics, Springer;The Association for Social Economics, vol. 37(2), pages 125-134, August.
    4. Geoffrey M. Hodgson, 2011. "The Great Crash of 2008 and the Reform of Economics," Chapters,in: The Handbook of Globalisation, Second Edition, chapter 28 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Elsner, Wolfram & Schwardt, Henning, 2015. "The (dis-)embedded firm: Complex structure and dynamics in inter-firm relations. Adding institutionalization as a Veblenian dimension to the Coase-Williamson approach – An emerging triangular organiza," MPRA Paper 67193, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Parada, Jairo, 2017. "Innovaciones sociales para territorios “inteligentes”: ¿ficción o realidad?
      [Social Innovation for “Smart” Territories: Fiction or Reality?]
      ," MPRA Paper 79763, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Nov 2016.

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