A market may be defined as a set of competitive relationships in which agents strive, within limits set by ground rules, to better their own economic positions, not necessarily at the expense of other people, but not necessarily not at their expense either. A degree of indifference to the market fates of others is, manifestly, an inevitable feature of the market practice, so defined. But though indifference is clearly logically endemic to markets, it has been denied that selfishness is necessarily involved in the raw competition of market activity. Thus, Hayek maintains that market behaviour is not selfish on the grounds that the market is a competitive non zero-sum ‘wealth-creating game’ in which individuals ‘use their own knowledge for their own ends’ in a system whose operations, via the ‘Invisible Hand’, also produce unintended benefits for others. But for behaviour to be selfish it clearly need not necessarily disbenefit other people; it is enough that it is pursued, or persisted in, regardless of its effects upon others. And this is precisely what the institutional ‘indifference’ of market activity amounts to. Admittedly individuals who understand the Hayekian logic of the market know that the long-run chances of everyone's benefiting are maximized by acting in a rigorously competitive manner, and so they at least in one sense act with a ‘regard for others’. But ipso facto this category of market agents has an even stronger reason than the ignorantly selfish for disregarding the specific interests of all the particular individuals with whom they have economically to do. ‘Market selfishness’, the disregard for others' market interests, is thus a logically inevitable feature of market activity.
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DOI 10.1017/S1358246100004872
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Hayek on Liberty.John Gray - 1986 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 48 (4):662-662.
Spheres of Intimacy and the Adam Smith Problem.Russell Nieli - 1986 - Journal of the History of Ideas 47 (4):611.
Mill's and Other Liberalisms.John Gray - 1988 - Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 2 (2-3):12-35.

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