Higgling: Transactors and Their Markets (1994)

Higgling: Transactors and Their Markets. 1994. Edited by Neil De Marchi and Mary S. Morgan. Supplement to volume 26 of HOPE. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

"Introduction," by Neil De Marchi and Mary S. Morgan (pp. 1–21). Higgling is bound up with the tension between efficiency and fairness, with those favoring efficiency seeing higgling as the process through which equilibrium is reached, and those favoring fairness focusing on the process, rules, and conventions of higgling.

Part 1: Fairness, Efficiency, and Language in the Analysis of Higgling

"The Market as a Distributive and Allocative System: Its Legal, Ethical, and Analytical Evolution," by S. Todd Lowry (pp. 25–46). In the absence of a smoothly working, self-regulating market, there is no arena in which higgling can effectively serve a market function.

"Trading 'in the Wind' and with Guile: The Troublesome Matter of the Short Selling of Shares in Seventeenth-Century Holland," by Neil De Marchi and Paul Harrison (pp. 47–65). Short selling was suspect because it failed to meet the equivalence standard for fairness, it fell short of Christian ethical standards, it was often accompanied by lies and cheating, and it was simply at odds with conventional merchant practice.

"Higgling: The Language of Markets in Economic Discourse," by Vivienne Brown (pp. 66–93). The term "higgling" is subject to different constructions in different discursive contexts—differences that may be related to different conceptions of language.

"Higgling with Money: German Contributions between 1900 and 1945," by Michael Hutter (pp. 94–114). In the context of a sign/language theory of money, higgling is central: it is the talk surrounding exchanges, and money is its code.

Part 2: Economic Order Supersedes Market Disorder

"Market Contracts in the Age of Hume," by Margaret Schabas (pp. 117–34). Market contracts figure much more prominently in Hume's thought than is usually acknowledged, with economic activity stabilizing the political—historically, behaviorally, and institutionally.

"Disequilibrium Trade as a Metaphor for Social Disorder in the Work of Jean-Baptiste Say," by Evelyn Forget (pp. 135–48). For Say, disequilibrium trade was a metaphor for social disorder, the mark of riot and revolution such as that associated with bread shortages and high grain prices at the outset of the French Revolution.

"'That God-Forgotten Thornton': Exorcising Higgling after On Labour," by Michael V. White (pp. 149–83). Thornton's On Labour challenged conventional claims about the laws of supply and demand and provoked responses from J. S. Mill, who gestured toward mechanical metaphors, and Fleeming Jenkin and Jevons, who depicted supply and demand in strict functional terms.

"On the Historical Origin of Keynes's Financial Market Views," by Michael Syron Lawlor (pp. 184–225). After World War I, Keynes became deeply involved in speculation, possessing a unique combination of practical experience and an ability to shape his experience into a philosophical analysis of speculation.

Part 3: American Economists Recover Fairness and Market Process

"Marketplace Morals and the American Economists: The Case of John Bates Clark," by Mary S. Morgan (pp. 229–52). Clark's analysis of exchange behavior centered on the justice of division in exchange, with a moral concern to understand how mutual advantage in exchange might be maintained whatever the context.

"Predatory Practices or Reasonable Values? American Institutionalists on the Nature of Market Transactions," by Malcolm Rutherford (pp. 253–75). Veblen and Commons rejected the standard conception of market transactions, with Veblen attacking the physical analogy of a natural or normal equilibrium, and Commons substituting his notion of the "transaction" for the individuals and commodities of orthodox analysis.

"Maximizers versus Good Sports: Frank Knight's Curious Understanding of Exchange Behavior," by Ross B. Emmett (pp. 276–92). For Knight, the fact that the market as a form of social organization enabled playful behavior had both positive and negative effects on society.

Part 4: The Nature of Exchange: In the Wild and in the Laboratory

"Transactors and Their Markets in Two Disciplines," by Anne Mayhew (pp. 295–312). The treatment—and nontreatment—of higgling by anthropologists and economists illustrates the different ways in which markets and market participants have been understood in the two disciplines.

"Tit for Tat: Concepts of Exchange, Higgling, and Barter in Two Episodes in the History of Economic Anthropology," by Philip Mirowski (pp. 313–42). The bulk of perceptive discussions of such concepts as the gift, exchange, and higgling has taken place outside the self-identified language community of economists and inside the community of economic anthropologists or economic sociologists.

"Laboratory Strife: Higgling as Experimental Science in Economics and Social Psychology," by Robert J. Leonard (pp. 343–69). Despite strenuous and ingenious efforts to do so, economic experimeters have never quite managed to keep the psychological/cultural genie in the bottle.

"The Interactional Study of Exchange Relationships: An Analysis of Patter Merchants at Work on Street Markets," by Colin Clark and Trevor Pinch (pp. 370–400). As the distinction between pitching and higgling shows, the economic order is crucially influenced and underpinned by the sociolinguistic "interactional order."