Different people may assess the value of a thing differently, but to reach agreement on values, they need to offer explanations of those assessments in terms that other people can find reasonable. Usually this means that they will need to invoke socially acceptable standards of value to justify their assessments. I call these standards lay theories of value, and this post introduces this concept.
Neither the traditional economist’s focus on firms in markets nor the Marxist political economist’s focus on exploitation of wage labour by capital is a viable way of understanding the real economy. This posts proposes some steps towards an alternative view.
My second extract from Profit and Gift in the Digital Economy discusses the concept of a complex of appropriative practices. It contrasts various applications of the concept with Marxist approaches to capitalism as a mode of production.
‘Tis the season to think about the things that people do at Christmas – or at least some people in certain cultures. Let me take you on a whistlestop tour of some ideas from economics, anthropology and sociology that might cast some light on the practice of giving gifts that is so central to contemporary celebrations at this time of year.
Conventional ways of understanding the economy – including critical approaches – are deeply flawed, and we need an alternative approach: a political economy of practices.