Talk:The Great Transformation (book)
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The article claims that Polanyi's claims about societies without markets have all been 'thoroughly rebutted'. As a source a partisan blog without academic credentials is cited. I suggest this be either removed or reworded to fit with Wikipedia guidelines. Way too many 'libertarian' trolls using Wikipedia as a soapbox. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.127.116.11 (talk) 19:34, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
Totally agree with the above comment. The source cited is from a partisan blog that systematically dismisses Polanyi idea without any scientific criteria. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mariopansera (talk • contribs) 16:16, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
I would also agree and add that Polanyi never made any mention of a world before markets. I don't think anyone in their right mind could argue that there was a period of human interaction on this planet that did not have something that could have been described, however loosely, as a 'market'—a mother suckling her child could, in the loosest sense, be considered an act of market exchange if one so proclaimed. Polanyi's contention, on the contrary, is that there was never a time in human history before the modern one in which markets dominated the means by which whole societies reproduced themselves. Before our present era, some degree of household or communal production was the basis for reproduction; markets served an auxiliary purpose to household reproduction but they certainly existed. Take this passage from The Great Transformation as an example of my interpretation of this text: "While history and ethnography know of various kinds of economies, most of them comprising the institution of markets, they know of no economy prior to our own, even approximately controlled and regulated by markets." (2001, p 46)
I find the criticism odd since it is a blog post quoting the actual critiques. Why not just provide the original sources and leave out this undergrad level blogging? I'd move to remove it, and let the libertarians find more academic sources to include here. It really just seems like they're grabbing at straws here, but actual intelligent criticisms likely exist somewhere. The second portion of the criticisms section also include no citations whatsoever. And nothing on the Douglass North page includes any citations either. At this time that whole section is suspect.Nik323 (talk) 03:03, 21 November 2014
According to Polanyi, Land, labor and capital are essential elements to the unrestrained free capitalist market. However, he sees a great conflict in defining them as commodities. A commodity is something which is created for the purpose of being bought and sold. However, none of the essential commodities of the capitalist market those being land, labor, and capital are actually created for that sole purpose. Land, labor and capital are used in both markets and industry, but none of them fit into the definition of a commodity. Firstly, labor is the humans who comprise societies. It is a natural activity of human life, and humans and their labor are not created to be bought and sold. Land is the earth and oceans which have always existed. Subjecting both labor and land to commodification means subjecting the natural world to the laws of a market which has no consideration for their stability. Capital does not fit the definition of commodity either. Capital is not produced in the way that other exchangeable goods are, it comes into existence through banking and state monetary policies. Thus, Polanyi concludes that the descriptions of the three as commodities are entirely fictitious. The implications of this in the 19th century were a double movement which consisted of the expansion of commodity markets and the reactionary movements of societies trying to deter the destructive results of exposing nature to market exploitation and of unstable money markets. Essentially, commodification of these three factors is the seed of the destruction of capitalism because the damage to society through abusive labor practices, a deteriorating natural world and a financial system of dangerous fluxes will cause society to retaliate against the profit fixated capitalist system.
- Polanyi, Karl (2001). The Great Transformation. Massachussets: Beacon Press. pp. 61–71.