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 126.96.36.199 (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.
Dr. Barbier's comment on this article
Dr. Barbier has reviewed this Wikipedia page, and provided us with the following comments to improve its quality:
The economist Edward Barbier combines environmental and economic history to argue that the market liberalization envisioned in Polyani's Great Transformation was facilitated in England and the rest of Europe through their access and exploitation of vast natural resource and land frontiers both internally and overseas (Ref: Barbier, E.B. 2011. Scarcity and Frontiers: How Economies Have Developed Through Natural Resource Exploitation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York, 748 pp.). As pointed out by the economists Kenneth Sokoloff and Stanley Engermann the transfer of such market liberalizing institutions to North America as opposed to South America was facilitated by the favorable environmental conditions that favored large-scale migration by Europeans (Ref: Sokoloff, Kenneth L. and Stanley L. Engerman. 2000. “Institutions, Factor Endowments, and Paths of Development in the New World.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 14(3):217-232.). Daron Acemoglu, Simon Johnson and James Robinson have demonstrated that such comparative advantages conferred by favorable environments that allow the transfer of market liberalizing institutions from Europe to former colonies has had a significant impact on their long-run comparative economic development [Ref: Acemoglu, D., Johnson, S. and Robinson, J.A. 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation." American Economic Review 91(5):1369-1401.]
We hope Wikipedians on this talk page can take advantage of these comments and improve the quality of the article accordingly.
Dr. Barbier has published scholarly research which seems to be relevant to this Wikipedia article:
- Reference : Mahmud, Sakib & Barbier, Edward, 2014. "Are Private Defensive Expenditures against Storm Damages Affected by Public Programs and Natural Barriers? Evidence from the Coastal Areas of Bangladesh," MPRA Paper 60001, University Library of Munich, Germany.
Murray Rothbard, in a private memo to the Volker Fund in June 1961, provides a critique of The Great Transformation. In it, he criticizes Polanyi's "worship of the primitive" and his attempt to "infer the history of pre-Western civilization from analysis of existing primitive tribes." Rothbard further criticizes Polanyi's admiration of "the tribal and other caste societies, because 'nobody starves.' Everyone might admittedly be on a subsistence level, he concedes, but no individual starves. Is it that great a comfort that everyone starves together? This is a grotesque statement. The primitive world—indeed all worlds before the Industrial Revolution—[is] constantly racked by famine and by plague."
Rothbard provides a "thorough critique" addressing Polanyi's apparent disregard for population growth, standards of living, and freedom of choice. With regards to the relationship between individuals, Rothbard writes that "for Polanyi, the ideal relationship between people is not mutual gain, but exploitation: the gain of one at the expense of another."