chapter  2
17 Pages

Exchanges, Market Exchanges, and Their Function

ByCarl David Mildenberger

When proposing a conception of justice in exchange, we have to base it on an understanding of what (market) exchanges are and what they do. It is the purpose of this chapter to do just this: to define (market) exchanges and to analyze their function in a society. First, the chapter proposes a definition of an exchange as a procedure with intended distributive effects that requires at least two symmetrically active persons and intent to be correctly effected, and which features some kind of offer-and-acceptance mechanism (typically creating duties to stick to these terms of exchange). Building on this, we can define a market exchange as an exchange between two parties of goods or services for money at the market price. Finally, I argue that the function of market exchanges is to counteract the centrifugal forces of professional specialization and division of labor without having to give up this efficient mode of production.