Ecology, Policy, and Politics: Human Well-Being and the Natural World

By John O'Neill | Go to book overview

10

MARKET, HOUSEHOLD AND POLITICS

In the last six chapters I have been concerned to reject market-based approaches to environmental policy, and to defend a central place for the sciences, arts and kindred practices in arriving at decisions about the environment. In this final chapter I place the arguments for these positions within the wider context of debates in political theory, particularly those between proponents of socialism and capitalism concerning the defensibility of markets. I do so by way of three distinctions that have been central to discussion of the market—between: (1) market and household, (2) market and politics, and (3) market and non-market associations. I examine two positions critical of the market that have been informed by these distinctions: the first is found in Marx and aims to construct a non-market order; the second which goes back to Hegel and has been popular in recent political philosophy seeks to place boundaries around the market. I highlight major problems with the second position, and argue that the first ought not yet to be buried.


10.1 HOUSEHOLD AND MARKET

[Aristotle’s] famous distinction of householding proper and money-making, in the introductory chapter of his Politics… was probably the most prophetic pointer ever made in the realm of the social sciences; it is certainly still the best analysis we possess. 1

Whether or not Aristotle’s analysis is prophetic in the sense Polanyi intends, it has major relevance for modern ecological problems. His distinction between householding and money-

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