Karl Polanyi and twenty-first-century capitalism

Edited by Radhika Desai and Kari Polanyi Levitt

Karl Polanyi and twenty-first-century capitalism


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Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-2788-4
  • Pages: 320
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: July 2020
  • BIC Category: Sociology, Social & political philosophy, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Capitalism, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Economy, Economics, finance, business & management / Political economy, Humanities / Social & political philosophy, PHILOSOPHY / Political, Society & social sciences / Sociology & anthropology
  • Series: Geopolitical Economy


As far right movements, social disintegration and international conflict emerge from the decay of the neoliberal order, Karl Polanyi's warnings against the unbridled domination of markets, is ever more relevant.

The essays in Karl Polanyi for the 21st Century extend the boundaries of our understanding of Polanyi's life and work. They will interest Polanyi scholars and all interested in socialism and our future after neoliberalism. One asks whether, following Keynes and Hayek, Polanyi's ideas will shape the twenty-first century. Some clarify, for the meaning of money as a fictitious commodity. Others resolve difficulties in understanding the building blocks of Polanyi's thought: fictitious commodities, the double movement, the United States' exceptional development, the reality of society, and socialism as freedom in a complex society. And yes others explore how Polanyi sheds light on income inequality, world systems theory, comparative political economy.


'This book shows just how contemporary the thought of Karl Polanyi is today. Ably organised chapters trace various elements of his thinking, from the famous 'double movement' to his relevance for constructing a better world beyond neoliberal capitalism.'
Ronaldo Munck, Professor of International Development, Dublin City University

'Why is the interest in Karl Polanyi spreading so widely in our neoliberal times? This book brilliantly looks for an answer to this question. A deeper understanding of Polanyi's social theory and political philosophy is fruitfully applied to the analysis of both permanent aspects and current problems of our society.'
Michele Cangiani, former Professor of Economic Sociology, Università Ca'Foscari Venezia, Italy

'This volume testifies that scholarship on Polanyi and Polanyian critique of our times is getting stronger day by day. The fresh insights and the new provocative debates launched in this collection are clear signs of this vitality.'
Attila Melegh, Director of Karl Polanyi Research Center, Corvinus University of Budapest

'This book brings new insights to Polanyi scholarship. Readers are taken on a journey through the evolution of Polanyi's thought and into conversation with him about today's complex societal challenges. The originality of this book is its intersection between the political economy and social philosophy of Karl Polanyi.'
Marguerite Mendell, Professor Emerita, Karl Polanyi Institute of Political Economy, Concordia University

'This book is a treasure trove of ideas and provocations for future work. Even for those who have some doubt about aspects of Polanyi's legacy these diverse chapters show, in a very convincing manner, what a rich contribution he has left for us, including The Great Transformation but going much further and wider than that. At the very least we need to continue our dialogue with Polanyi and his ideas, for our understanding of our current crises and dilemmas will be greatly enriched in the process.'
Marx and Philosophy


1 Introduction: Karl Polanyi in the twenty-first century - Radhika Desai

Part I: The great transformation and since
2 The return of Karl Polanyi: From the Bennington lectures to our present age of transformation - Kari Polanyi-Levitt

Part II: Money as a fictitious commodity
3 Debt, land and money: From Polanyi to the new economic archaeology - Michael Hudson
4 Commodified money and the crustacean nation - Radhika Desai
5 Double movement, embeddedness and the transformation of the financial system - Oscar Ugarteche Galarza

Part III: The double movement and socialism
6 The reality of society - Abraham Rotstein
7 Fictitious ideas, social facts and the double movement: Polanyi's framework in the age of neoliberalism - Claus Thomasberger
8 Multilinear trajectories: Polanyi, The Great Transformation, and the American exception - Hannes Lacher
9 This freedom kills: Karl Polanyi's quest for an alternative to the liberal vision of freedom - Michael Brie

Part IV: Elective affinities
10 Polanyi's democratic socialist vision: Piketty through the lens of Polanyi - Margaret R. Somers and Fred Block
11 Karl Polanyi as a precursor of world-systems theorists: An investigation of the theoretical lineage to Giovanni Arrighi - Chikako Nakayama
12 Polanyi in space - Jamie Peck



Radhika Desai is Professor at the Department of Political Studies at the University of Manitoba

Kari Polanyi Levitt is Honorary President of the Karl Polanyi Institute of Political Economy at Concordia University

Karl Polanyi and twenty-first-century capitalism

Edited by Radhika Desai, Kari Polanyi Levitt

Hardcover £85.00 / $130.00

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