From Market to Instinct (or from Interest to Passions)

Revista de Economía Institucional, Vol. 2, January-June 2000

35 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2003


This essay analyzes liberal explanations of social order. Throughout exposition, Ovejero suggests the convenience of reviewing two central insights of liberalism, related with the way that the "problem" of social order is stated and its "solution" through the market. The "problem" is based on the unsustainable idea of presocial individuals inherent to liberalism. The article develops some arguments that shows why it has no sense to ask for the foundation of social order in that way. It supports that sociability can not be chosen, as the language can no be chosen either, in other words sociability can not be explained as a result of exchange or bargaining among individuals. The paper analyzes too the alternatives to explain the existence of social cement: passions, in terms of emotions and instincts, as the central basis that explains the way in which personal interests and the market would guarantee the social order.

Note: The Downloadable document is in Spanish.

Keywords: social order, market, individual interests, passions, emotions

JEL Classification: B25, D59, D69, D72

Suggested Citation

Ovejero, Felix, From Market to Instinct (or from Interest to Passions). Revista de Economía Institucional, Vol. 2, January-June 2000, Available at SSRN: or

Felix Ovejero (Contact Author)

University of Barcelona ( email )

Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 585
Barcelona, 08007

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