This is a very rough, speculative, set of ideas in early emergence.
“THE Market” is the brand name for an ideology. “THE” implies there is only ONE market, where in reality there are many.
In a two only faux competition between economic ideologies, “THE Market” is contrasted with the only alternative a “TOTALLY CONTROLLED, CENTRALIZED, TOP-DOWN, GOVERNMENT DICTATED, TYRANNY”, with the brand names: Socialism, Communism, and Marxism (none of which in their real system exemplars were anything like their caricature image presented by market fanatics).
There is strong rationale for the current genuflection by liberals and even progressives in support of “markets as exchange systems” superior to selected historical exemplars of attempts at a top-down, managed economy. Complex systems of large scope and magnitude cannot be totally controlled – Ashbey’s 2nd Law of Cybernetics or the Law of Requisite Variety makes such control theoretically impossible.
The two ideological stances, BOTTOM-UP or TOP-DOWN, are both overly simplistic and naive. However, as ideologies they are effective in moving large populations to support one or another small organized group using the ideology to COMMAND mass behavior – for the benefits of these few.
This holds for so-called Grassroots processes that denies fundamental human diversity and champion obsessive individualism.
“THE Market” is highly regulated to be based on narrow financial metrics (scalar money) and fierce competition to maximize numerical profit. The added adjective FREE applies narrowly to the freedom to compete in this rigged game; freedom to rig. And, a freedom from other forms of regulation. Indeed, in ideology speak, THE Free Market has no regulations
Many critics of The Free Market automatically accept the basic regulation of the market concept being based on money, competition, and profit. They propose adaptive regulations that will make THE Market Fair & Just. They may propose very significant re-conceptualizations of “money”, “competition”, and “profit”. But “market” implies “financial”.
Stripping off all this baggage, can we envision the term “market” to label as system of seafed interactions between basic components of societal systems embedded in a matrix of quantitative measures that enable Humankind [local to global] (of which the market is but one subsystem) to be viable, sustainable, resilient, progressive, fair and just & CREATIVE?
We can start our exploration of alternative markets with a re-examination of organisms as complex holarchies of holons (systems) and networks. But this exploration should be free of the mechanistic paradigm still applied to much of our contemporary sciences of living systems. That is, what complements the cooperative/collaborative/collective efforts of persons and teams (bottom-up) is an organized system of conceptual schemes to guide the components into an “organic whole”. This is not top-down in the sense of a command chain or control, but a framework to serve as guide to basic actors to learn of future consequences of their local actions.
When humankind was primarily a network of loosely related tribes, the actions of one tribe didn’t have global impact. Today humankind is a massive, emergent “systems within systems within systems” that remains quite far from balance. Unregulated growth is now threatening the Gaian support system for humankind. Personally creative, local, even indigenous perspectives and styles – naive about how the whole functions (we are still learning this, but what knowledge we have is not well distributed or used), cannot solve our problems any more than can the corporations, intelligence agencies, or governmental societal systems.