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The Communicative Character of Capitalistic Competition

PublikationArtikel (med peer review)
Företagandets villkor, Hayek, Kapitalism, Konkurrens, Michael Wohlgemuth

Sammanfattning

“Ideal speech situations”, “domination-free discourse” or “deliberative communities” describe political ideals proudly cherished by many sociologists. The sometimes explicit, sometimes implicit, motivation is to mobilise political discourse as an instrument to tame or transform the capitalistic “system” according to alleged needs of “society”. Most economists and defenders of capitalistic competition, in return, don’t care about communicative communities. The individual market actor is assumed or demanded to be free to choose among given alternatives satisfying given preferences subject to given constraints. Why, then, should homo economicus argue (van Aaken 2003)? There is no “communicative action” among the individuals that populate economic textbooks, there is only “commutative action”. Only a few, mostly “Austrian”, economists realised that the exchange of goods and services within the spontaneous order of “catallaxy” involves an exchange of knowledge, ideas, opinions, expectations, and arguments – that markets are indeed communicative networks (e.g. Hayek 1946/48; Lavoie, ed. 1991; Horwitz 1992). In fact, and this will be my major claim, market competition is more “deliberative” than politics in the sense that more information about available social problem solutions and their comparative performance, about people’s preferences, ideas and expectations is spontaneously created, disseminated and tested. This very idea is anathema for followers of Habermasian discourse ethics. The intellectual thrust and political clout of their vindication of deliberative politics critically seems to depend on a mostly tacit assumption that markets fail to address social needs and regulate social conflicts. Political discourse therefore ?steps in to fill the functional gaps when other mechanisms of social integration are overburdened? (Habermas 1996: 318). I will claim that the argument should be very much the other way around: politics and public deliberations are overburdened mechanisms – unable to deal with an increasingly complex and dynamic society. Moreover, the requisites of ideal speech communities are so enormous that functional gaps are inevitable. Partly, these gaps can be closed if market competition steps in. Partly, reorganisations of the political system are needed. Hence, I am not arguing that Habermas is wrong by stressing the need for open discourse in order to reach informed agreement among citizens who seek to realise mutual gains from joint commitment by contributing to common (public) goods and submitting to common rules of conduct (s.a. Vanberg 2003). I am challenging his neglect of capitalistic competition as a communicative device and his disdain for the classical liberal conception of bounded democracy that respects individual property rights (e.g. Habermas 1975; 1998).

Wohlgemuth, M. (2005). “The Communicative Character of Capitalistic Competition: A Hayekian Response to the Habermasian Challenge.”The Independent Review, 10(1): 83-115.


Liknande innehåll

Konkurrens, selektion och entreprenöriellt lärande – Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research 2019 till Boyan Jovanovic
Artikel (utan peer review)Publikation
Andersson, M., Braunerhjelm, P., Delmar, F., Rickne, A., Stenkula, M., Thorburn, K. & Wennberg, K.
Publiceringsår

2019

Publicerat i
Sammanfattning

Denna artikel presenterar 2019 års pristagare av Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research – Boyan Jovanovic – och vilka bidrag han har gjort inom entreprenörskapsforskningen. Även om Jovanovic är en välkänd och välciterad ekonom inom akademin är måhända hans explicita bidrag inom entreprenörskapsforskningen inte lika välkända. Jovanovic har bidragit till en ökad förståelse av vem som egentligen blir entreprenör och entreprenörskapets betydelse för såväl företagsstruktur som innovationskraft och ekonomisk tillväxt.

The openness of open innovation in ecosystems
Artikel (med peer review)Publikation
Öberg, C., & Alexander, A.
Publiceringsår

2019

Sammanfattning

Open innovation has rendered increased interest both in practice and research, and has expanded from dyadic transfers of ideas, to ecosystem levels. Knowledge is at the heart of open innovation, and this paper describes and discusses knowledge-transfer linkages for open innovation. It does so based on a literature review. The paper links together open innovation research with general management research to categorise and discuss linkages among parties in terms of their openness and how they relate to knowledge management. Conclusions indicate that openness needs to be considered in different dimensions that also links to different knowledge management outcomes. The paper’s contribution consists of how it connects open innovation research to the general management literature, and how it builds a practical understanding of how linkages between firms can be categorised to aid firms to consider which mechanisms they may choose and why.

Municipally Owned Enterprises as Danger Zones for Corruption? How Politicians Having Feet in Two Camps May Undermine Conditions for Accountability
Artikel (med peer review)Publikation
Bergh, A., Erlingsson, G., Gustafsson, A. & Wittberg, E.
Publiceringsår

2019

Publicerat i
Sammanfattning

The market-inspired reforms of New Public Management have been particularly pronounced in Swedish local government. Notably, municipally owned enterprises (MOEs) have rapidly grown in numbers. Principal-agent theory gives rise to the hypothesis that the massive introduction of MOEs has impacted negatively on the conditions for accountability in Swedish local government. To study this, social network analysis was employed in mapping networks for 223 MOEs in 11 strategically chosen municipalities, covering a total of 732 politicians. The analysis reveals substantial overlaps between principals (representatives of the ultimate stakeholders, citizens) and agents (the boards of the MOEs). Hence, corporatization of public services seems to imply worrisome entanglements between the politicians who are set to steer, govern, and oversee MOEs on the one hand, and the board members of MOEs on the other. The increasing numbers of MOEs may therefore have adverse effects on accountability in important and growing parts of Swedish local government.

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