Market Mentality

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Market Mentality.jpg
You get (only) what you pay for.

The summary above expresses market logic, the simple truth which underlies the institution of money. It is rarely articulated, being understood to apply from cues such as a price currency symbol or a price. While use of technology is commonly understood to define a 'developed' society the widespread application of market logic is argubly just as characteristic. The ongoing process of monetization is the expansion of the realm to which market logic is applied. The monetized frames in which it operates are associated with Homo economicus and the model of the discrete and separate self.

Moral Justification[edit]

Where any moral justification for market logic is offered, it is usually an appeal to equity. Since market logic distributes goods ans services according to accumulated money, its ability to distribute resources evenly is easily understood to rely on one or more of the following two conditions:

  1. Money is evenly distributed; or
  2. The ability to earn money is evenly distributed

The patent untruth of either of these (under any definition of the word 'even') explains why an explicit justification for market logic is seldom offered. Instead, justification is usually pragmatic and takes the form of an implicity linkage with the process of technological development.

Psychological and Social Consequences[edit]

The Strict Father Model[edit]

George Lakoff proposes a paternal archetype, the strict father, in which the father's role is to punish deviations from his concepts of right and wrong through sufficiently painful or terrifying punishment to ensure obedience.

As such, Market Logic can be understood as continuing the work of the father by instilling its own 'discipline' in a similar fashion, provided that people rely on the market to meet their needs. Those who depend on the market for food, housing or other necessities are de facto required to fulfill the demands of the wealthy. The money of the wealthy effectively grants them transferrable parental powers over those without money, since their ability to deny others the neccessities of life stems from it.

Transferrable Virtue[edit]

In light of Lakoff, Robin Upton has suggested the idea of 'money as transferrable virtue', which suggests that multiple factors combine to encourage people (especially the financially poor) to respect those who have money:

  1. Reflexive respect of seniors due to strict father upbringing
  2. The Stockholm Syndrome, whereby those who are held hostage can come to identify with their captor
  3. The 'just world' cognitive bias which would like the wealthy to be virtuous
  4. An unfamiliarity with the actual operation of the means by which great wealth is acquired - in their experience, wages correspond more or less to work done

See Also[edit]