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2015/2016  KAN-CFILV2001U  Market Philosophy

English Title
Market Philosophy

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course Fourth Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for BSc/MSc in Business Administration and Philosophy, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Pierre Guillet de Monthoux - MPP
Contact information: https:/​/​e-campus.dk/​studium/​student-hub/​aabningstider-og-kontaktinformation
Main academic disciplines
  • Philosophy and ethics
  • Marketing
Last updated on 16-02-2015
Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors: Students should be able to account for both a. logical and b. aesthetic arguments ( the method to follow will be presented in the first part of the course) for free markets and free enterprise in the following cases
  • Market for Individualism ; master and discuss at least one logical and one aesthetic argument
  • Markets for Cooperation
  • Markets for Freedom
  • Markets for Action
  • Market for Democracy
Market Philosophy:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance.
Individual or group exam Group exam, max. 4 students in the group
Individual or group synopsis. Every student is to be examined individually.
Size of written product Max. 5 pages
Individual synopsis max. 3 pages, group synopsis max. 5 pages
Assignment type Synopsis
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
20 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Summer
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content and structure

Economic efficiency is usually referred to as arguments for open markets and free enterprise. But behind this superficial argument lies many different system of thought we may call Market Philosophy. There are deeper philosophical reasons for liking or disliking open markets and free marketing. The politics of free markets rest to a large extent on Market Philosophy that lends its powerful arguments, both technical-logical and aesthetic, to politics for business-society interaction. Economics efficiency is but the glossy surface, deep underneath lies Market Philosophy. In other words; it is Market philosophy that makes market and marketing politically powerful concepts.
To understand the political attraction of markets and marketing you therefore better explore philosophers behind the economists. You may know Adam Smith, but what about Frances Hutcheson and LordShaftesbury? If know about Milton Friedman, it’s high time to learn about Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises! Using this simple idea the course will explore the following important instances of Market Philosophy. But start with a methodological introduction
Market philosophy methodology- identifying logics and aesthetics in market philosophy:  Oliver Williamson won the Nobel Prize for rationally explaining why markets cannot always be the solution. This course however claims that such rational logical explanations do not suffice; they have to be supplemented by powerful rhetoric of a more aesthetic sort. Popular books by authors as different as Henry David Thoreau, Emile Zola, Ayn Rand, George Orwell or Alfred Jarry provide aesthetics as politically powerful as any Nobel laureate logical arguments. That is why such texts are included in the course.            
Markets for Individualism:  Adam Smith launched a system for explaining individual judgment of values; economics as well as moral. But what Greek philosophical ideas made him go for “individualism”? We visit Lord Shaftesbury and the idea of market as theatre marketing to its spectators. We discover the role of Stoicism and Sentimentalism.
Markets for Cooperation:Leon Walras founded the equilibrium theory of markets. Let us explore his wild side by visiting Charles Fourier´s system of passions and desires and its influence on early cooperative movements as well as later “Trade not Aid” policies.
Markets for Freedom: James Buchanan won the Nobel prize for his public choice theory; a powerful set of arguments for limiting state bureaucracy advocated by e.g. the Cato Institute.  But what about Henry David Thoreau´s view on Economic Freedom and Hollywood´s staging of the lonely hero-star winning over the organization. Market philosophy here advocates freedom in placed of bureaucracy and regulation.
Markets for Action: Behind Milton Friedman, free market super-crusader, we find Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig van Mises. In their spirit the (in)famous Mont Pelerin-society lobbied for opening world markets after WWll. Are there roots in anarchist attacks on Prussian Despotism and feudal Kameralist business management? Let´s discover Max Stirner and Friedrich Nietzsche. We understand how markets philosophy argue for direct action in place of planning.
Marketing for Democracy:George Soros launched a revival of philosopher Karl Popper who in turn scolded the classical Platonist attack on sophism. As Romain Laufer convincingly argues; marketing is a modern form of sophism. Let us revisit what Popper and how he connects markets to democracy. Aesthetic cases are digital media libertarianism such as Pirate Bay or Wikileaks.

Methodological Objectives:
Economic efficiency arguments for free markets and free enterprise are but the tip of huge icebergs. Hidden “under the water” is Market Philosophy on top of which economic efficiency arguments become “visible” in societal debates. What makes the iceberg float on general opinion is a combination of “logical argujments “ ans rhetoric “aesthetics”. To show this the course methodology is to go explore the hidden parts of the iceberg and point at some examples of powerful aesthetics of Market Philosophy in popular media; like novels, movies, and music.

Teaching methods
The course is based on
1. Reading and discussing key scholarly texts on Market Philosophy (basically philosophical texts)
2. Reading, visioning and discussing popular material referring to Marketing Philosophy (e.g. movies, novels, short stories)
3. Group work based on detecting Market Philosophy in contemporary debate and discussions.
Expected literature

A Compendium with exerpt from the following sources will be used:
Buchanan, james M and Tullock Gordon, 1962. Calculus of Consent, Library of economics and liberty
Popper, Karl. 1966. The open society and its enemies.
Williamson, Oliver. 1975. Markets and hierarchies. Free Press
Thoreau, Henry David., 2006 Walden, Yale University Press
Stirner, Max, 1995 The Ego and Its own, Cambridge University Press
Smith Adam, 1982, The theory of moral Sentiments; Liberty Fund
Guillet de Monthoux, Pierre 1993, The Moral Philosophy of Management, G.F.Sharpe
Czarnaiwska, Barbara and Guillet de Monthoux, Pierre, 2005. Good Novels Bettet Management
Von Mises, Ludwig, 1981 Planned Chaos, Foundation for Economic Education
Laufer, Romain, Paradeise Catherine 1990. Marketing Democracy. Transaction Books
Rand Ayn, 1996. The fountainhead, Penguin books
Fourier, Charles, 1996, The theory of the four movements, Cambridge University Press
Jarry Alfred, 1999, The Supermale, Exact Change
Zola, Emile, 1998, Ladies Paradise, Oxford University Press

Last updated on 16-02-2015