For a New West - Essays, 1919-1958

For a New West - Essays, 1919-1958

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At a recent meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, it was reported that a ghost was haunting the deliberations of the assembled global elite - that of the renowned social scientist and economic historian, Karl Polanyi. In his classic work, The Great Transformation, Polanyi documented the impact of the rise of market society on western civilization and captured better than anyone else the destructive effects of the economic, political and social crisis of the 1930s. Today, in the throes of another Great Recession, Polanyi s work has gained a new significance. To understand the profound challenges faced by our democracies today, we need to revisit history and revisit his work. In this new collection of unpublished texts - lectures, draft essays and reports written between 1919 and 1958 - Polanyi examines the collapse of the liberal economic order and the demise of democracies in the inter-war years. He takes up again the fundamental question that preoccupied him throughout his work - the place of the economy in society - and aims to show how we might return to an economy anchored in society and its cultural, religious and political institutions.
For anyone concerned about the danger to democracy and social life posed by the unleashing of capital from regulatory control and the dominance of the neoliberal ideologies of market fundamentalism, this important new volume by one of the great thinkers of the twentieth century is a must-read.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 200 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 32mm | 433.99g
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Translation
  • 0745684440
  • 9780745684444
  • 554,669

Review quote

This collection of Polanyi's writings addresses his significance for the world today more completely than any other. We encounter him here as an essayist, lecturer, social theorist and above all as an engaged public intellectual. The selection speaks very directly to our own concerns: on economy, history and freedom; on institutionalism as a method; on general economic history; on world crisis and transformation. This really is a Polanyi for our times. Keith Hart, London School of Economics I am delighted to see the publication of this collection of writings (many unpublished) of Karl Polanyi over a very long period. It is more than welcome. Karl Polanyi is one of a very rare breed - important thinkers who are always intelligent, incisive, and wide-ranging, and who ground their arguments in a deep knowledge of history. Even when one disagrees with him, one has to take his views into account, lest you miss out on a long-term perspective. I peresonally was profoundly affected by his marvelous book, The Great Transformation, both for its substantive arguments and its epistemological framework. That Polanyi is having a revival today is one of the most encouraging things about the current epoch. Immanuel Wallerstein, Yale University
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About Karl Polanyi

Karl Polanyi (1886-1964) was one of the most influential political economists of recent times. His book The Great Transformation is generally acclaimed as being among the most important works of economic history in the twentieth century.
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Table of contents

Preface by Kari Polanyi Levitt Introduction by Giorgio Resta I. Economy, technology and the problem of freedom 1. For a new West 2. Economic and freedom to shape our social destiny 3. Economic history and the problem of freedom 4. New frontiers of economic thinking II. Institutions matter 5. The contribution of institutional analysis to the social sciences 6. The nature of International understanding 7. The meaning of peace 8. The roots of pacifism 9. Culture in a democratic England of the future 10. America III. How to make use of the social sciences 11. How to make use of the social sciences 12. On political theory 13. Public opinion and statesmanship 14. General economic history 15. Market elements and economic planning in antiquity IV. Crisis and transformation 16. What matters now. A reply. 17. Conflicting philosophies in modern society 18. The eclipse of panic and the outlook for socialism 19. The passing of 19th century civilization 20. The trend towards an integrated society Postface by Mariavittoria Catanzariti
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Review Text

This collection of Polanyi's writings addresses his significance for the world today more completely than any other. We encounter him here as an essayist, lecturer, social theorist and above all as an engaged public intellectual. The selection speaks very directly to our own concerns: on economy, history and freedom; on institutionalism as a method; on general economic history; on world crisis and transformation. This really is a Polanyi for our times.
Keith Hart, London School of Economics
I am delighted to see the publication of this collection of writings (many unpublished) of Karl Polanyi over a very long period. It is more than welcome. Karl Polanyi is one of a very rare breed - important thinkers who are always intelligent, incisive, and wide-ranging, and who ground their arguments in a deep knowledge of history. Even when one disagrees with him, one has to take his views into account, lest you miss out on a long-term perspective.
I peresonally was profoundly affected by his marvelous book, The Great Transformation, both for its substantive arguments and its epistemological framework. That Polanyi is having a revival today is one of the most encouraging things about the current epoch.
Immanuel Wallerstein, Yale University
show more

Rating details

9 ratings
3.66 out of 5 stars
5 22% (2)
4 33% (3)
3 33% (3)
2 11% (1)
1 0% (0)
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