Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pic of the... 10 September 2008

LinYi Market Panorama, originally uploaded by o d b.

LinYi Market Panorama
While traveling on the outskirts of Lin Yi in the Shandong Provinve we came across a small village where it appeared that every tractor and trailer for miles was congregating into a single alley. Venturing into that alley revealed a massive market space being prepared for the weekend trading.
I can't help but be reminded of Manuel de Landa's description of peasant and small town markets being the best example of decentralized decision-making. De Landa states
" is only in peasant and small town markets that decentralized decision-making leads to prices setting themselves up in a way that we can understand. In any other type of market economists simply assume that supply and demand connect to each other in a functional way, but they do not give us any specific dynamics through which this connection is effected. Moreover, unlike the idealized version of markets guided by an "invisible hand" to achieve an optimal allocation of resources, real markets are not in any sense optimal. Indeed, like most decentralized, self-organized structures, they are only viable, and since they are not hierarchical they have no goals, and grow and develop mostly by drift."

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