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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

Europe underwent in his time is so original in its components and their configuration that even those versed in history and interdisciplinary studies approach its full meaning only gradually. And it is so suggestive that it has kept generations trying. This collection contains many contributions, by established and new Polanyi scholars, that push back the bounds of our understanding on many fronts, whether the ideas of fictitious commodities, particularly money, and the double movement, of socialism or of the different historical evolution of continental, British and

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

4 Commodified money and crustacean nations1 Radhika Desai Polanyi’s ‘great transformation’ refers to the ‘collapse’ of ‘nineteenth century civilization’ and the emergence from it of a vastly different one. The story revolved around the unfolding consequences of the commodification of three fictitious commodities: land, labour and money. However, the consequences of the commodification of the last structured the dramatic plot of The Great Transformation (TGT). Though the gold standard, the apex structure commodifying money, was only one of four institutions

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
Polanyi’s framework in the age of neoliberalism
Claus Thomasberger

-movement. The factors of production – or the ‘fictitious commodities’, as Polanyi calls them – are the obvious starting points of the counter-movement. There are three characteristics which distinguish the fictitious commodities from ordinary goods: • They are indispensable for the working of the self-regulating market system. Without the factors of production, no self-regulating market system is possible. • The prices of the fictitious commodities form the incomes of the principal classes of society. Wages, interest and rent derive directly from the sales of labor, money

in Karl Polanyi and twenty-first-century capitalism
Robert Chernomas, Ian Hudson, and Mark Hudson

particular place, is the result of social struggles by different groups with different and often opposing interests has a great deal in common with Karl Polanyi's thinking in The Great Transformation (Polanyi, 1944 [1957 ]) despite the fact that he was not, strictly speaking, in the historical materialist tradition. Polanyi coined the term the “double movement” to describe two contrasting trends in capitalism. The first is to strip away the social relationships that protected what he termed fictitious commodities to make them subordinate to the laws of self

in Neoliberal lives
Where anthropology and sociology share metaphors as analytical tools
Simone Ghezzi

Polanyi’s considerations regarding the regulatory measures implemented to control the action of the market as labour, land and money are transformed into fictitious commodities. The institutionalisation of the labour market, the extinguishing of the commons to the advantage of private property, and the expansion of all-purpose money all brought about social tensions that called for the intervention 82 The transformations of global capitalism of ‘powerful institutions’ designed to curb the disruptive actions of these special commodities (1944: 79). The problematic

in Western capitalism in transition
Piketty through the lens of Polanyi
Margaret R. Somers and Fred Block

). All actual markets are constituted and sustained by government actions, especially the markets in the key inputs into the economy, or what he calls the ‘fictitious commodities’ of land, labor and money – fictitious because they are non-economic in origin. Indeed it is because they are fictitious and not actual market commodities (they were not produced for the purpose of buying and selling) that they must be politically and economically coerced into the market and subjected to being bought and sold as if they were in fact commodities. Like Marx, Polanyi understood

in Karl Polanyi and twenty-first-century capitalism
An investigation of the theoretical lineage to Giovanni Arrighi
Chikako Nakayama

thrown as prey to misery and degradation’ (ibid.: 168). Just as his focus on the market organisation of society, particularly the three fictitious commodities, contested the Marxist conception of exploitation, so Polanyi also privileged market organisation as the explanation for India’s suffering. He considered the theory of exploitation an economistic prejudice. While Polanyi’s focus remained on the rise and decline of world capitalism, his analysis did not neglect backward regions and the general structure and character of capitalistic domination. As we shall examine

in Karl Polanyi and twenty-first-century capitalism