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.
This text, from the closing pages of the book, calls for a different kind of economy: an evolving diverse economy with more space for gift and alternative forms, and much less for the more oppressive forms of capitalism. If they are successful, books like this one form part of a spiral in which political arguments and political movements influence each other and develop iteratively.
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.
Conventional ways of understanding the economy – including critical approaches – are deeply flawed, and we need an alternative approach: a political economy of practices.