From Hobson's Choice
The building block of societies. A set of relationships developed over time to serve the needs of sentient beings. Institutions may include marriage, which is a norm for relations between two individuals. The structure of an institution may be more complicated, integrating many individuals so that their relationship with each other is defined by their role within the institution.
In modern societies with an industrial economy, institutions include not only the basic participants in the economy, such as corporations and financial intermediaries, but also social relations of production, out of which arises the institution of capital.
- Robert Hardin, "Institutional Morality" ; chapter in The Theory of Institutional Design Cambridge University Press (1996)
James R MacLean (02:41, 3 October 2007 (PDT))