3 - Marketization: From intellectual agenda to global policy-making  pp. 53-73

Marketization: From intellectual agenda to global policy-making

By Marie-laure Djelic

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Introduction

A distinctive feature of the contemporary period of globalization is a powerful trend towards marketization in many regions of the world. The term “marketization” refers both to market ideologies and market-oriented reforms. A market ideology reflects the belief that markets are of superior efficiency for the allocation of goods and resources. In its most extreme form, this belief is associated with the commodification of nearly all spheres of human life. Market-oriented reforms are those policies fostering the emergence and development of markets and weakening, in parallel, alternative institutional arrangements. During the last decades of the twentieth century, the dominant market-oriented reform mix has included macroeconomic stabilization, privatization, deregulation, liberalization of foreign trade and liberalization of international capital flows (Simmons et al. 2003).

Since the early 1980s, market ideology and market-oriented policies have spread fast and wide around the globe. Markets, the argument goes, are better at allocating resources and producing wealth than bureaucracies, cartels or governments. Furthermore, the global diffusion of marketization has had an impact well beyond the traditional boundaries of the economy. Marketization implies a redefinition of economic rules of the game but also a transformed perspective on states, regulation and their role. Marketization is questioning all forms of protective boundaries and barriers and having an impact, as a consequence, on social and also cultural and legal policies (Collectif Dalloz 2004; Thornton 2004).

As defined here, the marketization process points to a number of issues. There is first the issue of origins.