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Markets are conversations – Non-Cluetrain edition

I’m going to a talk today by Victor Pérez-Diaz called “Markets as Conversations.” It’s being held at Harvard’s Center for European Studies, 12:15-2pm in the Cabot Room at 27 Kirkland Street in Cambridge. The paper of the same name is about how markets influence politics, culture and society. Looks fascinating and I’m sorry I’ll have to leave early for a chat.

From the author’s summary:

The points I intend to make here are, basically, three: (a) that markets should be
understood, in an ideal-typical manner, as part of a general social order which I refer to
by the ancient expression ‘civil society’ (CS); (b) that markets reinforce that order by
shaping and influencing culture, politics and society so that they proceed, or function,
in a civil manner; and (c) that we may get a better grasp of the way markets act and
achieve this effect by developing an understanding of markets as conversations.

I develop a view of markets as conversations, that is, as a system of communication (mostly, but not entirely,
by non-linguistic means) which works as an educational mechanism shaping people’s
habits. In turn, these habits may help them to develop a complex of capacities and
dispositions, of civil and civic virtues, which we can bracket together under the rubric
of ‘civility’.

The paper has nothing to do with the Internet and does not mention Cluetrain or Doc. Nevertheless, I’m bringing Prof. Pérez-Diaz a copy of the book ;) [Tags: ]

3 Responses to “Markets are conversations – Non-Cluetrain edition”

  1. I would call it parallel invention – interesting, this also parallel to the critique of the pitch. That is, the problem is how do you make business, capitalism, selling – which are often perceived as very inhuman, exploitative, with immense socially destructive power – seem friendly, warm-‘n-cuddly, perhaps the very expression of spirtual development?

    Answer: Use *metaphors* that imply that pitch. Like “conversations”. It’s the same problem whether you’re selling in the large, capitalism to those who aren’t keen on it already, or in the small, generic product marketing.

    David, I understand how you may think positively of the above. But going from your summary, it looks to be just Ayn Rand done well.

  2. Ah, I see from this entry that my question to your other entry (which you posted after going to the presentation at CES) is more or less answered: I guess a “Jane Jacobsian” perspective was manifestly _not_ on the table, in the room, or anywhere near the building…

    For some silly reason I have an image of silos (not conduits!) in my head just now… Can’t think why…

    Do let us know if you ever find out if anyone at CES engages with your book…

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