The assumption that the expansion of self-regulating markets is the only possible path to the prosperity and flourishing of the human race, and is indispensable for its moral and material well-being, deserves a careful analytical reappraisal if it is to be impugned and refuted. This is what Polanyi did in The Great Transformation. He studied the incompatibility of the capitalist arrangements of the nineteenth century with the fabric of society in England and elsewhere, and provided critical insights that demonstrated the flaws in the attempts to demonize political interventionism in the defense of society while glorifying the self-regulating market. The present book, inspired by Polanyi’s thought, also takes up the challenge and explores in various ways the contemporary nonspontaneous political attempts to institute the market economy and to contain the disruptions caused by these attempts. We believe that Polanyi’s analysis remains highly relevant to the reassessment of the socioeconomic situation in many parts of the world, as faith in “free markets” has been restored in various ways since the 1970s.
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