Great Transformations

Great Transformations : Economic Ideas and Institutional Change in the Twentieth Century

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This book picks up where Karl Polanyi's study of economic and political change left off. Building upon Polanyi's conception of the double movement, Blyth analyzes the two periods of deep seated institutional change that characterized the twentieth century: the 1930s and the 1970s. Blyth views both sets of changes as part of the same dynamic. In the 1930s labor reacted against the exigencies of the market and demanded state action to mitigate the market's effects by 'embedding liberalism.' In the 1970s, those who benefited least from such 'embedding' institutions, namely business, reacted against these constraints and sought to overturn that institutional order. Blyth demonstrates the critical role economic ideas played in making institutional change possible. Great Transformations rethinks the relationship between uncertainty, ideas, and interests, achieving profound new insights on how, and under what conditions, institutional change takes place.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 298 pages
  • 150 x 224 x 20mm | 399.16g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0521010527
  • 9780521010528
  • 333,500

Review quote

'Great Transformations is a significant book in at least two ways. First, it extends academic debate about the causes of change in wealthy capitalist countries in important ways ... Second, and more important, Great Transformations dissects profound changes in the state that leave many millions of individuals much more vulnerable ... Those hostile to granting ideas a role in political explanation will have to engage with Blyth's framework, the mark of an important scholarly work.' West European Politics

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Table of contents

Part I. Theory: 1. Karl Polanyi and institutional change; 2. A theory of institutional change; Part II. Cases: 3. Building American embedded liberalism; 4. Building Swedish embedded liberalism; 5. Disembedding liberalism: ideas to break a bargain; 6. Disembedding liberalism in the United States; 7. Disembedding liberalism in Sweden; Part III: 8. Conclusions.

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Review Text

An analysis of political power of economic ideas used by domestic groups to effect change.

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