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Trust, Morality, and Markets

Rethinking Economy and Society via the Russian Case

Yuri Veselov, Mikhail Sinyutin and Elena Kapustkina

The spread of contemporary globalized capitalism wrought by the new patterns of industrialization, marketization, and consumerization shapes Russia’s recent historical path and developmental possibilities. This book discusses Russia’s transformation into a market economy and the role of trust in the creation of new institutions and ways of life. It focuses on the relations between society and economy in a period of turbulent social change and the extraordinary transformation of social practices.
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Chapter 2. The Reproduction of Trust

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Chapter 2. The Reproduction of Trust

In the previous chapter, we discussed the moral structure of the economy and the nature of moral transformation. Now we will concentrate on the study of market morality; what is a market in general, with ancient, medieval and contemporary examples and what type of morality and trust corresponds to a market society. Then we will analyse sociological theories of trust and underline basic features of the production of trust.

2.1 The Rise of Market Worlds: Changing Social Structures

Our economic consciousness lends us to a rudimentary meaning of markets. “Market is an arrangement that brings together buyers and sellers of products and resources; any area in which prices of products or services tend toward equality through the continuous negotiations of buyers and sellers” (Butler 1998: 926). Although this resembles the ideas of both neoclassical theorists and ordinary economic actors, the broader sociological view reveals a rather complicated picture. A multidimensional meaning of markets includes at least the following: a physical marketplace; a gathering for trading; a legal right to hold a meeting for exchange; a system of private property rights; buying and selling in general; sales as controlled by supply and demand; an abstract price-making mechanism (i.e. of valuation); a capitalist ideological concept; and a type of exchange between various communities.

The market as an order presupposes relationships of exchange and decision-making (trade choices). However, not every act of trade or exchange can be treated as...

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