This essay analyses what the metaphor of “embedding” markets means. Firstly, a distinction between different forms of descriptive embedding (i.e. sociological, legal and institutional) is made, which leads to the proposition that no market is “unembedded” in a descriptive sense, and that the question concerning embedding cannot be answered only by analysing markets. Rather, a broad, institutional analysis is needed. Then, an understanding of embedding in the moral sense as demand for prevention of different forms of harm is suggested. Also, the different forms of harm then can be categorised according to the systematic location of harm and the criteria ‘material versus ‘immaterial. Subsequently, the pitfalls of the proposed conceptualisation and their practical implementation are discussed, namely the question for relevant standards of comparison, and the problem of the dynamic of accidental consequences, which then also need a certain dynamic in the reaction to them. The essay concludes with deliberations about the conditions for the possibility of embedding markets nationally as well as internationally.