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Seminar – Marketcraft: How Governments Make Markets Work

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Modern-day markets do not arise spontaneously or evolve naturally. Rather they are crafted by individuals, firms, and most of all, by governments. Thus “marketcraft” represents a core function of government comparable to statecraft and requires considerable artistry to govern markets effectively. Just as real-world statecraft can be masterful or muddled, so it is with marketcraft.

In Marketcraft, Steven Vogel builds his argument upon the recognition that all markets are crafted, then systematically explores the implications for analysis and policy. In modern societies, there is no such thing as a free market. Markets are institutions, and contemporary markets are all heavily regulated. The “free market revolution” that began in the 1980s did not see a deregulation of markets, but rather a reregulation. Vogel looks at a wide range of policy issues to support this concept, focusing in particular on the US and Japan. He examines how the US, the “freest” market economy, is actually among the most heavily regulated advanced economies, while Japan’s effort to liberalise its economy counterintuitively expanded the government’s role in practice.

Marketcraft demonstrates that market institutions need government to function, and in increasingly complex economies, governance itself must feature equally complex policy tools if it is to meet the task. In our era - and despite what anti-government ideologues contend - governmental officials, regardless of party affiliation, should be trained in “marketcraft” just as much as in statecraft.

Professor Steven Vogel, University of California, Berkeley

Steven K. Vogel is the Il Han New Professor of Asian Studies and a Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He specialises in the political economy of the advanced industrialised nations, especially Japan. He recently completed a book, entitled Marketcraft: How Governments Make Markets Work (Oxford, 2018), which argues that markets do not arise spontaneously but rather are crafted by individuals, firms, and most of all by governments. Thus “marketcraft” represents a core function of government comparable to statecraft. The book systematically reviews the implications of this argument, critiquing prevalent schools of thought and presenting lessons for policy. Vogel is also the author of Japan Remodeled: How Government and Industry Are Reforming Japanese Capitalism (Cornell, 2006) and co-editor (with Naazneen Barma) of The Political Economy Reader: Markets as Institutions (Routledge, 2008). His first book, Freer Markets, More Rules: Regulatory Reform in Advanced Industrial Countries (Cornell, 1996), won the Masayoshi Ohira Memorial Prize. He edited his mother Suzanne Hall Vogel’s book The Japanese Family in Transition: From the Professional Housewife Ideal to the Dilemmas of Choice (Rowman & Littlefield, 2013), and a volume on US-Japan Relations in a Changing World (Brookings, 2002). He won the Northern California Association of Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Excellence Award in 2002, and the University of California, Berkeley Faculty Award for Outstanding Mentorship of Graduate Student Instructors in 2005. He has been a columnist for Newsweek-Japan and the Asahi Shimbun, and he has written extensively for the popular press. He has worked as a reporter for the Japan Times in Tokyo and as a freelance journalist in France. He has taught previously at the University of California, Irvine and Harvard University. He has a BA from Princeton University and a PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.