Virgil Henry Storr: Understanding the culture of markets
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In this book, Virgil Storr has set out to convince economists that they should pay both more and the right sort of attention to markets. The first thing I wish to note is that he has taken on an interesting challenge. On the one hand, he wants to take culture into account in a more robust fashion than current economics tends to do. He must do more than simply treat culture as another variable in a consumption or production function, because if he does not the reaction will be “Well, yes, we already do that.”
On the other hand, by doing more with culture, he risks leaving the field of economics altogether and beginning to write either history or what Eric Voeglin would call “philosophical anthropology.” In fact, as related in the preface, this is exactly what Israel Kirzner wrote to Storr about his work: Very good and very interesting, but it’s just not economics. Kirzner claimed that economist had “altogether properly abstracted” price theory from its cultural context (p. xiv).