Avihay Dorfman, ‘A Legalistic Conception of the Market: Beyond Efficiency’

Abstract
This paper challenges highly influential liberal and economic characterizations of the market and its legal structure. I defend an expansive conception of market exchange, one which goes beyond the exchange of goods and services in satisfaction of preferences to include the exchange of reciprocal recognition. My argument for this conception draws on the legal forms of market interactions and, in particular, contract. I argue that the latter gives rise to a form of recognition that is preference-independent and, therefore, that market participants cannot wish away the normative implications – that I cast in terms of legitimacy – that arise from engaging in contractual interactions. The proposed conception of market exchange has important negative implications for the concept of efficiency which is, arguably, the most fundamental feature of contemporary philosophical, economic, and legal accounts of the market. I argue that this concept cannot articulate the theoretical basis for market orderings as it suffers from certain explanatory and conceptual difficulties.

Dorfman, Avihay, A Legalistic Conception of the Market: Beyond Efficiency (January 18, 2018).

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