January, 2021

The market as foreground

The ontological status of the market in market process theory
  • Solomon Stein

    Senior Fellow, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
  • Virgil Storr

    Vice President, Academic & Student Programs
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Markets as objects of study in their own right have been given surprisingly little attention within neoclassical economics. The market has, in contrast, remained in the foreground for heterodox schools of economics, including market process theory. This essay suggests that the market remained in the analytical foreground for market process theorists even as it was increasingly absent in neoclassical economics on account of the different ontological commitments characterizing the two traditions. Attending to the ontological dimension of economic thought offers us a more complete understanding of how economics could become disconnected from the markets of the real world as well as why it was retained by heterodox economists.