The Surprising Design of Market Economies

University of Texas Press
3
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The "free market" has been a hot topic of debate for decades. Proponents tout it as a cure-all for just about everything that ails modern society, while opponents blame it for the very same ills. But the heated rhetoric obscures one very important, indeed fundamental, fact—markets don't just run themselves; we create them.

Starting from this surprisingly simple, yet often ignored or misunderstood fact, Alex Marshall takes us on a fascinating tour of the fundamentals that shape markets and, through them, our daily economic lives. He debunks the myth of the "free market," showing how markets could not exist without governments to create the structures through which we assert ownership of property, real and intellectual, and conduct business of all kinds. Marshall also takes a wide-ranging look at many other structures that make markets possible, including physical infrastructure ranging from roads and railroads to water systems and power lines; mental and cultural structures such as common languages and bodies of knowledge; and the international structures that allow goods, services, cash, bytes, and bits to flow freely around the globe.

Sure to stimulate a lively public conversation about the design of markets, this broadly accessible overview of how a market economy is constructed will help us create markets that are fairer, more prosperous, more creative, and more beautiful.

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About the author

From the way roads and rails shape our cities to the way laws shape our economies, Alex Marshall has long sought and explored the underlying systems that shape our worlds. A journalist, writer, and former Loeb Fellow at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, he is the author of How Cities Work: Suburbs, Sprawl, and the Roads Not Taken and Beneath the Metropolis: The Secret Lives of Cities. Marshall is a Senior Fellow at the Regional Plan Association in New York. His work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Metropolis, Planning, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, Slate, Salon, Architecture, Revue Urbanisme, and many other publications.

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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Texas Press
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Published on
Sep 1, 2012
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9780292745681
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Economics / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Bonus material added to the revised and expanded 2006 edition

The original New York Times Magazine article about Steven D. Levitt by Stephen J. Dubner, which led to the creation of this book.

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 Ravenscraig is a post WWII fictionalized memoir told from the perspective of Alasdair Marshall who is raising his son Ewan, by himself, after his wife’s death. When Alasdair’s father Alex is struck with Alzheimer’s, Jean, Alex’s wife admits him to a full-time care facility called Ravenscraig which has a dark history as a lunatic asylum. The hospital becomes an ever present reminder to Alasdair of his father’s deterioration.

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