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Title: Karl Polanyi’s the great transformation: Perverse effects, protectionism and gemeinschaft
Authors: Dale, G
Keywords: Karl Polanyi; Ferdinand Tönnies; perverse effects doctrine; Great Depression; capitalism; democracy
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Citation: Economy and Society. 37(4) 495 - 524.
Abstract: Drawing upon Karl Polanyi’s journalistic writings and unpublished lectures from the 1920s and 1930s, this article reconstructs the lineaments of his research programme that was to assume its finished form in The Great Transformation. It identifies and corrects a common misinterpretation of the thesis of that book, and argues that Polanyi’s basic theoretical framework is best conceived as Tönniesian: the ‘protective counter-movement’ of The Great Transformation is Gemeinschaft, understood dynamically, while the market society is Gesellschaft. It examines the two central mechanisms by which, in Polanyi’s understanding, Gesellschaft broke down in the mid-twentieth century: the ‘clash between democracy and capitalism,’ and a doctrine of ‘perverse effects’ whereby political intervention in markets impairs profitability and saps the vitality of the market system.
Appears in Collections:Politics and International Relations
Dept of Politics, History and Law Research Papers

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