Markets, Class and Social Change: Trading Networks and Poverty in Rural South Asia

Markets, Class and Social Change: Trading Networks and Poverty in Rural South Asia

Markets, Class and Social Change: Trading Networks and Poverty in Rural South Asia

Markets, Class and Social Change: Trading Networks and Poverty in Rural South Asia

Synopsis

At the beginning of the 21st century an idealized view of markets informs government policy. Real differences in how markets interact with social change are obscured and public action on poverty is constrained. This book uses a detailed study of the grain trade in Bangladesh to show how socially-constrained patterns of market involvement may systematically benefit the rich while disadvantaging the poor. The book suggests that markets are implicated in the making of society, its division, identities, and directions.

Excerpt

Markets establish a range of ways of exchanging goods and services through the medium of money. the ubiquity of markets in most parts of the world, and the frequency of our participation in them, encourages the impression that markets and the buying and selling of goods involve simple processes. This appearance of simplicity may be reinforced by our ignorance of market histories and a powerful ideological trend in contemporary capitalism that suggests that markets are natural phenomena.

In reality, the exchange of commodities is neither a simple process nor a natural one. the exchange of commodities interacts in numerous ways with the construction of our material lives and with our understanding of them. Markets, and commodity exchange, have histories. a common elision of market pasts and a conflation of market with nature obscure the social origins of market relations. This is a book about how markets are made by societies and how societies are made by markets. It explores the diversity and consequences of markets in an agrarian society. But the relevance of the book is more general. in an age when markets are often portrayed as globally triumphant, and when market forms of organization provide the central motif of policy in East, West and South, an understanding of the diversity of markets is of deep social significance.

This book argues that market diversity matters: regionally distinct patterns of markets differ in their social consequences, the interaction of different levels of exchange undermines simple notions of markets, and socially constrained patterns of market involvement may systematically benefit the rich while disadvantaging the poor. in other words, some markets can shape wealth and poverty, and, more generally, markets are implicated in the making of society, its divisions, identities and directions.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.