Human Behavior

Econ 394 FI – essay prompt #1 3 February 2021

One thing we often do in an economics course is study the behavior of “markets”.
In this essay, please tell me: (1) What exactly is “a market”? In you own life, how much of your time do think you spend participating in “a market”?

And then, please tell me: (2) How did “markets” come to exist? What is the origin of markets when we look back in human history?

Many of us now believe that essential pieces of the mosaic required for the functioning of a market are (a) some set of rules governing human behavior and (b) some type authority that ensures that these rules are followed by those participating in “the market”.

(3) Can you identify any markets that exist today, or that existed in the past, that function(ed) without either a “state” or some other type of governing authority acting in a way to ensure that “the rules” of the market were/are followed? If you can identify such a thing, please describe it and the set of conditions in place that allows (or allowed) it to happen.

(4) If you cannot identify a market that exists without some type of governing authority, why do you think this is the case?

Please cite specific passages in Graeber’s book Debt to support your arguments.

This essay should be approximately 1100 words in length and double-spaced. Please submit it to me via email no later than Wednesday March 3rd.

Thank you!

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