In this classic work of economic history and social theory, Karl Polanyi analyzes the economic and social changes brought about by the "great transformation" of the Industrial Revolution. His analysis explains not only the deficiencies of the self-regulating market, but the potentially dire social consequences of untempered market capitalism. New introductory material reveals the renewed importance of Polanyi's seminal analysis in an era of globalization and free trade.
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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.
From one of the world’s leading writers on religion and the highly acclaimed author of the bestselling A History of God, The Battle for God and The Spiral Staircase, comes a major new work: a chronicle of one of the most important intellectual revolutions in world history and its relevance to our own time. In one astonishing, short period – the ninth century BCE – the peoples of four distinct regions of the civilized world created the religious and philosophical traditions that have continued to nourish humanity into the present day: Confucianism and Daoism in China; Hinduism and Buddhism in India; monotheism in Israel; and philosophical rationalism in Greece. Historians call this the Axial Age because of its central importance to humanity’s spiritual development. Now, Karen Armstrong traces the rise and development of this transformative moment in history, examining the brilliant contributions to these traditions made by such figures as the Buddha, Socrates, Confucius and Ezekiel. Armstrong makes clear that despite some differences of emphasis, there was remarkable consensus among these religions and philosophies: each insisted on the primacy of compassion over hatred and violence. She illuminates what this “family” resemblance reveals about the religious impulse and quest of humankind. And she goes beyond spiritual archaeology, delving into the ways in which these Axial Age beliefs can present an instructive and thought-provoking challenge to the ways we think about and practice religion today. A revelation of humankind’s early shared imperatives, yearnings and inspired solutions – as salutary as it is fascinating. Excerpt from The Great Transformation: In our global world, we can no longer afford a parochial or exclusive vision. We must learn to live and behave as though people in remote parts of the globe were as important as ourselves. The sages of the Axial Age did not create their compassionate ethic in idyllic circumstances. Each tradition developed in societies like our own that were torn apart by violence and warfare as never before; indeed, the first catalyst of religious change was usually a visceral rejection of the aggression that the sages witnessed all around them. . . . All the great traditions that were created at this time are in agreement about the supreme importance of charity and benevolence, and this tells us something important about our humanity.
In the 1980s the performance of Japan’s economy was an international success story, and led many economists to suggest that the 1990s would be a Japanese decade. Today, however, the dominant view is that Japan is inescapably on a downward slope. Rather than focusing on the evolution of the performance of Japanese capitalism, this book reflects on the changes that it has experienced over the past 30 years, and presents a comprehensive analysis of the great transformation of Japanese capitalism from the heights of the 1980s, through the lost decades of the 1990s, and well into the 21st century. This book posits an alternative analysis of the Japanese economic trajectory since the early 1980s, and argues that whereas policies inspired by neo-liberalism have been presented as a solution to the Japanese crisis, these policies have in fact been one of the causes of the problems that Japan has faced over the past 30 years. Crucially, this book seeks to understand the institutional and organisational changes that have characterised Japanese capitalism since the 1980s, and to highlight in comparative perspective, with reference to the ‘neo-liberal moment’, the nature of the transformation of Japanese capitalism. Indeed, the arguments presented in this book go well beyond Japan itself, and examine the diversity of capitalism, notably in continental Europe, which has experienced problems that in many ways are also comparable to those of Japan. The Great Transformation of Japanese Capitalism will appeal to students and scholars of both Japanese politics and economics, as well as those interested in comparative political economy.
While AI, robots, bio-technologies and digital media are transforming work, culture and social life, there is little understanding of or agreement about the scope and significance of this change. This new interpretation of the ‘great transformation’ uses history and evolutionary theory to highlight the momentous shift in human consciousness taking place. Only by learning from recent crises and rejecting technological determinism will governments and communities re-design social arrangements that ensure we all benefit from the new and emerging technologies. The book documents the transformations underway in financial markets, entertainment, medicine, affecting all aspects of work and social life. It draws on historical sociology and co-evolutionary theory arguing that the radical evolution of human consciousness and social life now underway is comparable to, if not greater than the agrarian revolution (10,000 BCE), the explosion of science, philosophy and religion in the Axial age (600 BCE), and the recent industrial revolution. Turning to recent major socio-economic crisis, and asking what can be learnt from them, the answer is we cannot afford this time around to repeat the failures of elites and theoretical systems like economics to attend appropriately to radical change. We need to think beyond the constraints of determinist and reductionist explanations and embrace the idea of deep freedom. This book will appeal to educators, social scientists, policy-makers, business leaders and students. It concludes with social design principles that can inform deliberative processes and new social arrangements that ensure everyone benefits from the affordances of the new and emerging technologies.
Four years into the unfolding of the most serious crisis since the 1930s, Karl Polanyi's prediction of the fateful consequences of unleashing the destructive power of unregulated market capitalism on peoples, nations, and the natural environment have assumed new urgency and relevance. Polanyi's insistence that 'the self-regulating market' must be made subordinate to democracy otherwise society itself may be put at risk is as true today as it was when Polanyi wrote. Written from the unique perspective of his daughter, From the Great Transformation to the Great Financialization is an essential contribution to our understanding of the evolution and contemporary significance of Karl Polanyi's work, and should be read against the background of the accelerating accumulation of global finance that created a series of financial crises in Latin America, Russia, Asia, and, eventually, the heartlands of capitalism itself.
With England’s Great Transformation, Marc W. Steinberg throws a wrench into our understanding of the English Industrial Revolution, largely revising the thesis at heart of Karl Polanyi’s landmark The Great Transformation. The conventional wisdom has been that in the nineteenth century, England quickly moved toward a modern labor market where workers were free to shift from employer to employer in response to market signals. Expanding on recent historical research, Steinberg finds to the contrary that labor contracts, centered on insidious master-servant laws, allowed employers and legal institutions to work in tandem to keep employees in line. Building his argument on three case studies—the Hanley pottery industry, Hull fisheries, and Redditch needlemakers—Steinberg employs both local and national analyses to emphasize the ways in which these master-servant laws allowed employers to use the criminal prosecutions of workers to maintain control of their labor force. Steinberg provides a fresh perspective on the dynamics of labor control and class power, integrating the complex pathways of Marxism, historical institutionalism, and feminism, and giving readers a subtle yet revelatory new understanding of workplace control and power during England’s Industrial Revolution.
What is it about free-market ideas that gives them staying power in the face of such failures as persistent unemployment, widening inequality, and financial crises? The Power of Market Fundamentalism extends economist Karl Polanyi's work to explain why these dangerous utopian ideas have become the dominant economic ideology of our time.