Thursday, January 26, 2012

Are Markets Tools?

@umairh tweets "Dear all. Markets are tools. Like any tool, they can break. Like any tool, we can fetishize them as idols. But shouldn't."

The problem with regarding a market as a tool or instrument is that it implies some external purpose - the invisible hand. Many people imagine that the invisible purpose of the market is to benefit people - either people in general or a particular class. Clearly some people do benefit from markets, at least in the short term (for example some speculators).

But maybe the market serves no purpose than its own. In which case, attributing any beneficial or instrumental purpose to the market is a kind of idolatry. See my post on Worshipping the Golden Calf.

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