The book of the year: “The Power of Market Fundamentalism: Karl Polanyi’s Critique”

The Power of Market FundamentalismIn The Power of Market Fundamentalism: Karl Polanyi’s Critique Fred Block and Margaret R. Somers did a superb academic work, sagaciously encountering readers with a powerful intellectual legacy of Karl Polanyi through their insightful analysis of his writings, especially of his masterpiece The Great Transformation (free full text access).
The ghost of Karl Polanyi is stalking Davos“, rightly observed Larry Elliott, the Guardian’s economics editor, tree years ago at the World Economic Forum meeting. But of course there is more than that… The fundamental Polanyi’s scientific contribution is in stultifying and debunking the “free market” capitalism and an erroneous idea of “self-regulating markets”. His own research reflected the developments in Britain in the 19 and 20 century, as well as non-Western arrangements and social processes.
In their excellent book, Block and Somers also situated Polanyi’s thinking in our turbulent times and related it to the events that have taken place since the publication of The Great Transformation in 1944.
Gianfranco Poggi (University of California, Berkeley) discusses in this recommended review article the main arguments and themes of The Power of Market Fundamentalism, focusing on Polanyi vs. Marx comparison, the market-centered conception of the social process, the New Poor Law of 1834, and Polanyi’s critique of Malthus.
Antonio Gramsci once famously stated: “The history of education shows that every class which has sought to take power has prepared itself for power by an autonomous education. The first step in emancipating oneself from political and social slavery is that of freeing the mind“. The plentiful scholarship of Karl Polanyi, and Block and Somers’ interpretative successful endeavour to bring it to the public and academics take us a big step closer to achieving this essential goal, striking market fundamentalism, economicism and neoliberalism.

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2 Responses to The book of the year: “The Power of Market Fundamentalism: Karl Polanyi’s Critique”

  1. Pingback: Capitalism and work time // Malthus and Market Fundamentalism // Study of multinationals is crucial // Oil and Neoliberalism in Argentina | Economic Sociology and Political Economy

  2. Pingback: The early Karl Polanyi: Interpreting “Socialist Accounting” | Economic Sociology and Political Economy

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