Markets missed and recovered

If you were to ask people what disappoints them about markets they would say that markets carry out their business without feeling, that they focus on pecuniary profits in the short run and forget about the little guy.

It’s true. The beauty of unfetter trade is based on the ability of unrelated people to transact without forethought to social obligation. That is the feature which makes them powerful elevating nearly all of humanity to some higher level than a century ago. So what kind of quandry are we in if the secret power is the not so secret downfall?

No quandary, just a shift. Pecuniary markets handle private goods in a fine fashion. There are markets for goods carrying a varying degree of social innuendo. Here you pay to belong. You exit when you want out. You give of your time and money to foster the nurturing of the social objective. It is still through discovery and evaluation of choices that consumers choose their municipalities, their school districts, their transit option.

People are disappointed when they look for the public market amongst private goods. It’s not there. So they cry foul!

For example, the job market spans a wide range of pay from part-time coffee pourers to financial wizards a la Warren Buffet. Clocking in at a Starbucks three mornings a week might be just what a retiree wants. The money makes it worth getting up a little earlier. But they are really interested in the job to get out of the house and interact with various people in a pleasant setting. One might even go as far as to say having this minimal low stress obligation is good for their health.

It wouldn’t work well if the only employment option was a latte mixer. And this is where the trouble starts. Some individuals are only able to pull down basic jobs, and others feel this is not right. They create a rule that every head of household is entitled to employment at a living wage. In this reframing it is decided that society, or the greater group, owes the working family a living wage.

And voila, a social market is created.

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