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  • Luigino Bruni (a1) and Robert Sugden (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 March 2008

This paper reappraises the idea, traceable to Adam Smith, of a fundamental distinction between market transactions and genuinely social relationships. On Smith's account, each party to a market transaction pursues his own interests, subject only to the law of contract. Using the work of Smith's contemporary Antonio Genovesi as our starting point, we reconstruct an alternative understanding of market interactions as instances of a wider class of reciprocal relationships in civil society, characterized by joint intentions for mutual assistance. We consider the implications of our arguments for current debates about whether marketed personal care services can be genuinely caring.

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Economics & Philosophy
  • ISSN: 0266-2671
  • EISSN: 1474-0028
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