Comments on: The limits of Karl Polanyi’s anti-market approach in the struggle for economic democracy A New Commonwealth — Ver 5.0 Wed, 08 May 2013 11:01:32 +0000 hourly 1 By: Wade Davis, The Wayfinders, and more from anthropology blogs | Anthropology Report Wed, 30 Jan 2013 02:10:31 +0000 […] The limits of Karl Polanyi’s anti-market approach in the struggle for economic democracy, Keith Hart It is odd that Polanyi sometimes reduces the structures of national capitalism to an apolitical “self-regulating market.” For his analysis of money, markets and the liberal state was intensely political, as was his preference for social planning over the market. His wartime polemic, reproducing something of his opponents’ abstractions, was more a critique of liberal economics than a critical account of actually existing capitalism. This would explain the lingering confusion over whether he thought a “disembedded” market was possible or was just a figment of liberal ideology, market fundamentalism. Similarly, we might argue today either that neoliberalism did effectively disembed the market economy or that its claim to have done so was a mystification of the invisible political processes of rentier finance in which markets are still embedded. In either case, the post-war turn to social democracy or “embedded liberalism”–the apogee of national capitalism–was hardly anticipated by The Great Transformation. We should not repeat this error when we draw inspiration from Polanyi in the struggle for economic democracy today. Note: Thank you to Ryan Anderson at Savage Minds for highlighting this piece and my Eric Wolf, Europe and the People Without History – Geography, States, Empires. […]

By: Bryllars Tue, 29 Jan 2013 19:18:44 +0000 I’m not completely sure what the argument or proposal here is. But I appreciate the nice summary of the positions of the sociologists who are not usually treated clearly in terms of their economic positions.

But somehow this snuck in.
“but would not wish to do away with the wealth they produce”
Clearly anthropologists should wish to divide this “wealth” up into different kinds – and how to measure the losses incurred in breaking up local societies and traditions that may co-occur with hunger and illness.
Very hard to measure. And the needs of a frenetic industrial life may be really be bigger than the requirements of happiness in a traditional life.
This is not to say that there are not monstrous traditional societies, or traditions.
Only that very careful micro analysis should be necessary for anthropologists AND for a moral notion of “economic democracy”.
As an enthusiast of Danish social democracy – which is at least as much a cutural matter as a straight economic one – I still see “economic democracy” as a modern matter, not directly applicable to traditional societies.

By: Good reads: Antrosio on Eric Wolf; Hart on Polanyi | Savage Minds Tue, 29 Jan 2013 15:32:03 +0000 […] onto Keith Hart.  His post about the importance (and some of the shortcomings) of Karl Polanyi’s work is a good read for any of you economically-minded anthropologists out there.  Much of Hart’s […]