Radhika Desai
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Introduction
Karl Polanyi in the twenty-first century
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This introduction places the contributions that follow in the context of Polanyi’s rising influence, its causes and effects, and of the key twenty-first century developments that make his oeuvre more relevant than ever. It emphasizes how the contributions push the boundaries of received understandings of Polanyi. While some contributions fill gaping holes, such as those on money as a fictitious commodity, others overturn received understandings, whether that of the double movement or fictitious commodities, or the provenance (Central European or American) of his principal ideas and concerns or how he understood socialism. Yet others demonstrate how amenable Polanyi’s ideas are to further development. Last but not least, the introduction outlines Polanyi’s historical diagnosis as it emerges from these innovative contributions and argues that the stark choice he felt faced European societies, socialism or fascism, is once again before us as we face the groundswell of nationalist and far right forces.

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