Solidarity in StrategyMaking Business Meaningful in American Trade Associations

Solidarity in StrategyMaking Business Meaningful in American Trade Associations

Lyn Spillman

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226769561

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

Popular conceptions hold that capitalism is driven almost entirely by the pursuit of profit and self-interest. Challenging that assumption, this study of American business associations shows how market and non-market relations are actually profoundly entwined at the heart of capitalism. This book draws on documentary archives and a comprehensive data set of more than four thousand trade associations from diverse and obscure corners of commercial life to reveal a busy and often surprising arena of American economic activity. From the Intelligent Transportation Society to the American Gem Trade Association, the book explains how business associations are more collegial than cutthroat, and how they make capitalist action meaningful not only by developing shared ideas about collective interests but also by articulating a disinterested solidarity that transcends those interests. Deeply grounded in both economic and cultural sociology, the book provides rich, lively, and often surprising insights into the world of business, and leads us to question some of our most fundamental assumptions about economic life and how cultural context influences economics.