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Karl Polanyi (1886–1964) returned to public discourse in the 1990s, when the Soviet Union imploded and globalization erupted. Best known for The Great Transformation, Polanyi’s wide-ranging thought anticipated twenty-first-century civilizational challenges of ecological collapse, social disintegration and international conflict, and warned that the unbridled domination of market capitalism would engender nationalist protective counter-movements. In Karl Polanyi and Twenty-First-Century Capitalism, Radhika Desai and Kari Polanyi Levitt bring together prominent and new thinkers in the field to extend the boundaries of our understanding of Polanyi's life and work. Kari Polanyi Levitt's opening essay situates Polanyi in the past century shaped by Keynes and Hayek, and explores how and why his ideas may shape the twenty-first century. Her analysis of his Bennington Lectures, which pre-dated and anticipated The Great Transformation, demonstrates how Central European his thought and chief concerns were. The next several contributions clarify, for the first time in Polanyi scholarship, the meaning of money as a fictitious commodity. Other contributions 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. The volume culminates in explorations of how Polanyi has influenced, and can be used to develop, ideas in a number of fields, whether income inequality, world-systems theory or comparative political economy. Contributors: Fred Block, Michael Brie, Radhika Desai, Michael Hudson, Hannes Lacher, Kari Polanyi Levitt, Chikako Nakayama, Jamie Peck, Abraham Rotstein, Margaret Somers, Claus Thomasberger, Oscar Ugarteche Galarza.

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Karl Polanyi in the twenty-first century
Radhika Desai

commodity A unique section on what Polanyi meant when he designated money as a fictitious commodity follows. Market-driven economics assumes that everything that is bought and sold is a commodity. Those immersed in it cannot understand what Polanyi meant by ‘fictitious commodities’. Polanyi developed this concept out of intellectual traditions of long standing (Desai in this volume) that questioned the naturalness of markets. He understood money as a social institution emerging from state and credit relations, one that far pre-dated capitalism, took specific, and

in Karl Polanyi and twenty-first-century capitalism
Radhika Desai

of socialism. This centrality of money in TGT’s account of capitalism and socialism could not contrast more with the deafening silence among Polanyi and TGT scholars on money as a fictitious commodity. This chapter ends it. Doing so requires, first and foremost, appreciating just how much Polanyi shared with classical political economy, Marx and Marxists, and others such as the social liberal, John Hobson, notwithstanding Polanyi’s ambivalence about them. If this is not widely appreciated, it is not only because Polanyi’s relation with these traditions and, above

in Karl Polanyi and twenty-first-century capitalism
Oscar Ugarteche Galarza

PRINT.indd 103 12/06/2020 09:16 Money as a fictitious commodity This lasted until the demise of the dollar/gold standard (1971) when the dollar’s gold backing was withdrawn and liberalized currency markets were introduced. Later, in 1980 general financial deregulation began to disembed the financial sector once again. Soon after, with the Latin American debt crisis, the concept of ‘Too Big to Fail’ was operationalized and broke through the usual boundaries between politics and economics. A group of banks were re-embedded to protect them from bankruptcy in 1984. It

in Karl Polanyi and twenty-first-century capitalism
From Polanyi to the new economic archaeology
Michael Hudson

gold standard was re-imposed after the First World War, economies were starved of money in order to reduce prices and wages in a futile attempt to pay their debts. Rueff, Ohlin and Hayek claimed that imposing this deflation and poverty on debtor economies would (and should) represent a stable equilibrium. Everything – including money, land and labor – was viewed as a commodity 61 DESAI 9781526127884 PRINT.indd 61 12/06/2020 09:16 Money as a fictitious commodity whose price would be set fairly by supply and demand, subject to ‘demand’ being eroded by debt service

in Karl Polanyi and twenty-first-century capitalism