Margaret R. Somers
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Polanyi’s democratic socialist vision
Piketty through the lens of Polanyi
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This chapter brings Karl Polanyi into dialogue with Thomas Piketty, author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century. The dialogue is intended to make visible key aspects of Polanyi’s theoretical framework while also suggesting limitations in Piketty’s approach to political economy.  Specifically, the authors use the concept of ‘predistribution’ – implicit in Polanyi – to critique Piketty’s emphasis on redistribution as the solution to growing wealth and income inequality. Predistribution conveys the idea that the initial market distribution of income is not natural but is shaped by the systematic exercise of political and economic power.

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