Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
A market can be defined as a relatively stable network of institutions or organizations that enable the exchange of goods and services among producers and consumers, usually (but not always) on commercial and monetary terms. Conceived in this way, markets are necessary but insufficient predicates of capitalism, which entails a system of production based upon private ownership as well as a market-based system of exchange. Beyond these basic definitional outlines, however, a number of tensions surrounding the concept derive from disagreements about the organization of market capitalism, the state's role in regulating it, and the degree to which markets are naturally arising and self-equilibrating or, rather, politically created and sustained. A conventional view, common to contemporary economists and many political scientists, traces the market concept back to Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations (1776), which provides a seminal understanding of market exchange even though Smith rarely uses the term market The ...