Skip to comments.Reconsiderations: 'The Great Transformation' by Karl Polanyi
Posted on 06/06/2008 5:43:58 PM PDT by neverdem
Books | Review of: The Great Transformation
Karl Polanyi's "The Great Transformation" (1944), published in the same year as Friedrich Hayek's "The Road to Serfdom," is as sacred a text to the opponents of free-market capitalism as Hayek's is to the Chicago School.
To his devotees, Polanyi showed the free market to be the enemy of humanity in "The Great Transformation." It was an alien form of social organization, he argued, created in 18th-century England only by state action propelled by ideologues. By displacing the natural social state an idyllic system of mutual obligations that bound and protected individuals the free market brought inequality, war, oppression, and social turmoil to just and peaceful societies.
"The Great Transformation" has attained the status of a classic in branches of sociology, political science, and anthropology. Stacks of it await undergraduate initiates each year in college bookstores. Citations to the work continue to accumulate in scholarly articles. Yet in economics the work is unknown or, when discussed, derided. Thus the cruel irony of the term "social sciences."
It is understandable that Polanyi believed that free markets would lead to political and social collapse. Born in 1886 in Vienna and raised in Budapest, he had, by 1944, witnessed World War I, the Russian Revolution, revolution and terror in his native Hungary, hyperinflation in Austria and Germany in the 1920s, the collapse of the international gold standard, the Great Depression, the rise of Nazism, the New Deal, and World War II an era of unrest unprecedented in the modern world. The book begins portentously, "Nineteenth-century civilization has collapsed."
Polanyi identified four pillars of this dying civilization the international balance of powers, the gold standard, the liberal state, and the self-regulating market economy. By 1944 these all seemed to have been swept...
(Excerpt) Read more at nysun.com ...
E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the Twenty-first Century Better yet, get it straight from the horse's mouth for practical sociology. P.S. He's that rare breed, an honest liberal.
Beieve me when I tell you this! Nobody on FR has a freekin clue. Those that did left years ago.
But you’re still here? /s/
Hey I’m a Moron
Hey I’m a Moron
Since you said it twice I can’t disagree! ;^)
The Sun crashed. I couldn’t make any links from their homepage, despite it looking normal.
Great review by Gregory Clark. Thanks for posting.
The Sun is working now.
You are absolutely correct, the sun crashed, I saw it happen somewhere over the western horizon, maybe in Indiana somewhere. I will be tuning in to the news at 11PM
Markets exist because that is the way humans, throughout the World, have ordered their economic affairs.
From time to time, Ill ping on noteworthy articles about politics, foreign and military affairs. FReepmail me if you want on or off my list.
That’s pretty much Adam Smith 101. Exactly so.
Sounds like Feudalism.
Thanks for the ping!