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The intellectual orders of a market economy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 February 2017

Faculty of Economics, Corvinus University of Budapest and HETFA Research Institute, Budapest, Hungary


Not only do ideas matter in economic development but so do the institutions of intellectual debates in which ideas are formed. Scholars usually point to intellectual debates whose institutions are largely exogenous to the economy (e.g. those of religion or science). I suggest that economists should also consider intellectual debates that are initiated by economic actors. I set out to understand the role of intellectual debate in the economy and, drawing on Polanyi's concept of ‘intellectual order’, the institutions that emerge endogenously to support it. Professional communities and public intellectual spheres are shown as the most important examples. Three historical cases are given as illustrations. I conclude that these intellectual orders should be included among the fundamental ‘institutions of capitalism’, along with the catallactic institutions of property and contract.

Research Article
Copyright © Millennium Economics Ltd 2017 

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