Karl Polanyis Vision of a Socialist Transformation

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    Editor(s): Claus Thomasberger, Michael Brie

    Publisher: Black Rose Books

    Year: 2018

    Format: Paperback

    Size: 328 pages

    ISBN: 9781551646350

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The political and economic turmoil that followed our most recent financial crisis has sparked a huge resurgence of interest in the work of Karl Polanyi (1886–1964), anthropologist, economist, and social philosopher. Polanyi’s 1944 masterpiece, The Great Transformation, spoke of the increasing dominance of the market and the resulting counter-movements which can be both transformative and reactionary. But reception of his work remains largely restricted to the so called “double movement” of marketization versus social regulation. Polanyi is typically regarded as a social reformer supporting an increased social state, welfare intervention, and a broader national and international regulation of the financial markets. The socialist intention of The Great Transformation, and indeed of the totality of his work, is almost unknown, largely because a large part of his oeuvre concerning his understanding of socialism has, up to this point, been published only in the German language.

Karl Polanyi’s Vision of a Socialist Transformation upends what we thought we knew about Polanyi to reveal that Polanyi did indeed have a vision of a structural transformation to overcome the market society with a deeply democratic socialist vision. German social and economic philosophers Michael Brie and Claus Thomasberger bring together central figures in the field—including Fred Block, Gareth Dale, Nancy Fraser, and Kari Polanyi Levitt—to provide an essential collection on the contemporary importance of Polanyi’s thought. This book is centered around Polanyi’s ideas on freedom and community in a complex socialist society with a completely transformed economy. It also includes five 1920s essays by Polanyi, recently translated into English for the very first time, including his lecture “On Freedom”, which is central to his unique understanding of socialism.

What People Are Saying

"Brie and Thomasberger have made an important addition to the recent wave of eye-opening work on Karl Polanyi, by building a bridge from Polanyi the critic of market society to Polanyi the theorist of ethical socialism." Wolfgang Streeck, author of How Will Capitalism End?

About the Editors

Michael Brie is senior fellow at the Institute for Critical Social Analysis of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, in Berlin.

Claus Thomasberger is professor of international economic policy and political philosophy at the Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft, in Berlin.

Table of Contents

Introduction - Michael Brie & Claus Thomasberger


Freedom of Action and Freedom of Thought - Kari Polanyi Levitt


Freedom, Responsibility and the Recognition of the Reality of Society - Claus Thomasberger

Why Two Karls are Better than One: Integrating Polanyi and Marx in a Critical Theory of the Current Crisis - Nancy Fraser

Revisiting “Freedom in a Complex Society”: A View from the Periphery - Ayşe Buğra

Utopianism and the Reality of Society: Decoding Polanyi’s Socialism, Freedom, and the Alchemy of Misrecognition - Margaret R. Somers

“Neoliberal Violence”—an Attempt to Embed Society into the Market - Hüseyin Özel


Karl Polanyi and the Paradoxes of Freedom - Gareth Dale

Knowledge, Freedom and Democracy: Friedrich Hayek and Karl Polanyi on the Market Society and Beyond - Paula Valderrama

“Knowledge of Society” as the Basis of Karl Polanyi’s Demanding Conception of Freedom - Michele Cangiani

Karl Polanyi and Human Freedom - Fred Block

Polanyi’s Concept of Peace in a Complex Society - Chikako Nakayama


Not the New Deal and Not the Welfare State: Karl Polanyi’s Vision of Socialism - Johanna Bockman

Planning for Freedom - Pat Devine

Commoning and the Commons: Alternatives to a Market Society - Marguerite Mendell

Karl Polanyi and the Discussions on a Renewed Socialism - Michael Brie


Ideologies in Crisis (Weltanschauungskrise) (UYUY)

Science and Morality (UYVT-VV)

Being and Thinking (UYVT-VV)

The Science of the Future (UYVT-VV)

On Freedom (UYVX)

Freedom in a Complex Society (UYWX)

Book Details

Editor: Michael Brie
Editor: Claus Thomasberger
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-55164-635-0
Size: 328 pages
Publisher: Black Rose Books
Year: 2018

Tags: anticapitalism ....... Black Rose Books ....... Claus Thomasberger ....... economics ....... marxism ....... Michael Brie ....... philosophy .......