“Polanyi on the market” and Embeddedness

June 24, 2013

Open Economics

Daniel Little has a post about Karl Polanyi and his view of economic and social behavior. Read the whole thing. In case you won’t, I’ll quote the key points (but not the Polanyi itself, so again, go read it):

Polanyi maintains that the concept of economic rationality is a very specific historical construct that applies chiefly to the forms of market society that emerged in Western Europe in the early modern period…

Thus Polanyi maintains that it is socially motivated behavior — behavior motivated toward the interests of one’s family, clan, or village” — rather than self-interested behavior that is “natural” for human beings; rational self-interest is rather a feature of a highly specific society: market society…

In place of economic rationality and the market mechanism providing the basis for organization of the premarket economy, Polanyi argues that communitarian patterns of organization are to be found in a range…

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