Economy//Society is an accessible introduction to the ways in which economic exchanges are embedded in social relationships. Bruce Carruthers and Sarah Babb tackle big issues and real problems with analytical power and lively ideas. They offer rich and novel insights into such topics as advertising, consumer behaviour, the diffusion of innovations, conflicts in the work place, social inequality and the economic development of nations.


More than two centuries after Adam Smith claimed that markets and economic self-interest could benefit society, markets have apparently conquered the world. On the outskirts of Moscow, the Izmailovo market sprawls as a monument to Russia's transition to capitalism. In the words of two foreign observers who visited the market,

The past and future were simultaneously on sale. Oil paintings of snowy villages and religious icons, many of dubious origin, were commingled with South Korean electronics and cheap videocassettes—-The favored mode of payment for all of this was the dollar—the same dollar whose possession only a few years earlier could have resulted in a stiff prison term. (Yergin and Stanislaw 1997:9)

Today, markets seem to be the only game in town, and many people think this ...

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