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Economic LivesHow Culture Shapes the Economy$
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Viviana A. Zelizer

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780691139364

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691139364.001.0001

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Do Markets Poison Intimacy?

Do Markets Poison Intimacy?

(p.171) 9 Do Markets Poison Intimacy?
Economic Lives

Viviana A. Zelizer

Princeton University Press

This chapter considers the relationship between intimacy and economic activity. Money is widely believed to poison intimate relations, while intimate relations undercut the rational efficiency of economic activity. However, such reasoning ignores a fundamental fact: in everyday life, people constantly mingle intimacy and all sorts of economic activity—production, consumption, distribution, and transfers of assets. Intimate relations between spouses, between lovers, between parents and children, and even between doctors and patients depend on joint economic activity. No loving household would last long without regular inputs of economic effort. What's more, family firms and mom-and-pop stores often thrive despite the everyday mingling of intimacy and economic activity. Something is wrong with the conventional reasoning.

Keywords:   intimacy, economic activity, money, intimate relations

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