|Born||October 25, 1886|
|Died||April 23, 1964 77) (aged|
|Spouse(s)||Ilona Duczynska (1923-64)|
|Field||Economic sociology, economic history, economic anthropology|
|Historical school of economics|
|Influences||Robert Owen, Bronisław Malinowski, G. D. H. Cole, Richard Tawney, Richard Thurnwald, Karl Marx, Aristotle, Karl Bücher, Ferdinand Tönnies, Adam Smith, Alfred Radcliffe-Brown, Werner Sombart, Max Weber, György Lukács, Carl Menger|
|Contributions||Embeddedness, Double Movement, fictitious commodities, economistic fallacy, the formalist–substantivist debate (substantivism)|
|Part of a series on|
| Economic, applied, and development |
|Social and cultural anthropology|
Karl Paul Polanyi ( // ; Hungarian : Polányi Károly [ˈpolaːɲi ˈkaːroj] ; October 25, 1886 – April 23, 1964) was an Austro-Hungarian economic historian, economic anthropologist, economic sociologist, political economist, historical sociologist and social philosopher. He is known for his opposition to traditional economic thought and for his book, The Great Transformation , which argued that the emergence of market-based societies in modern Europe was not inevitable but historically contingent. Polanyi is remembered today as the originator of substantivism, a cultural approach to economics, which emphasized the way economies are embedded in society and culture. This view ran counter to mainstream economics but is popular in anthropology, economic history, economic sociology and political science.
Polanyi's approach to the ancient economies has been applied to a variety of cases, such as Pre-Columbian America and ancient Mesopotamia, although its utility to the study of ancient societies in general has been questioned.Polanyi's The Great Transformation became a model for historical sociology. His theories eventually became the foundation for the economic democracy movement. His daughter, Canadian economist Kari Polanyi Levitt (born 1923 in Vienna, Austria), is Emerita Professor of Economics at McGill University, Montreal.
Polanyi was born into a Jewish family. His younger brother was Michael Polanyi, a philosopher, and his niece was Eva Zeisel, a world-renowned ceramist.He was born in Vienna, at the time the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. His father, Mihály Pollacsek, was a railway entrepreneur. Mihály never changed the name Pollacsek and is buried in the Jewish cemetery in Budapest. Mihály died in January 1905, which was an emotional shock to Karl, and he commemorated the anniversary of Mihály's death throughout his life. Karl and Michael Polanyi's mother was Cecília Wohl. The name change to Polanyi (not von Polanyi) was made by Karl and his siblings. Polanyi was well educated despite the ups and downs of his father's fortune, and he immersed himself in Budapest's active intellectual and artistic scene.
Polanyi founded the radical and influential Galileo Circle while at the University of Budapest, a club which would have far reaching effects on Hungarian intellectual thought. During this time, he was actively engaged with other notable thinkers, such as György Lukács, Oszkár Jászi, and Karl Mannheim. Polanyi graduated from Budapest University in 1912 with a doctorate in Law. In 1914, he helped found the Hungarian Radical Party and served as its secretary.
Polanyi was a cavalry officer in the Austro-Hungarian Army in World War I, in active service at the Russian Front and hospitalized in Budapest. Polanyi supported the republican government of Mihály Károlyi and its Social Democratic regime. The republic was short-lived, however, and when Béla Kun toppled the Karolyi government to create the Hungarian Soviet Republic Polanyi left for Vienna.
From 1924 to 1933 he was employed as a senior editor of the prestigious Der Österreichische Volkswirt ('The Austrian Economist') magazine. It was at this time that he first began criticizing the Austrian School of economists, who he felt created abstract models which lost sight of the organic, interrelated reality of economic processes. Polanyi himself was attracted to Fabianism and the works of G. D. H. Cole. It was also during this period that Polanyi grew interested in Christian socialism.
He married the communist revolutionary Ilona Duczyńska, of Polish-Hungarian background.
Polanyi was asked to resign from Der Oesterreichische Volkswirt because the liberal publisher of the journal could not keep on a prominent socialist after the accession of Hitler to office in January 1933 and the suspension of the Austrian parliament by the rising tide of clerical fascism in Austria. He left for London in 1933, where he earned a living as a journalist and tutor and obtained a position as a lecturer for the Workers' Educational Association in 1936. His lecture notes contained the research for what later became The Great Transformation . However, he would not start writing this work until 1940, when he moved to Vermont to take up a position at Bennington College. The book was published in 1944, to great acclaim. In it, Polanyi described the enclosure process in England and the creation of the contemporary economic system at the beginning of the 19th century.
Polanyi joined the staff of Bennington College in 1940, teaching a series of five timely lectures on the "Present Age of Transformation.".The lectures, The Passing of the 19th Century, The Trend Towards an Integrated Society, The Breakdown of the International System, Is America an Exception and Marxism and the Inner History of the Russian Revolution, took place during the early stages of World War II. Polanyi participated in Bennington's Humanism Lecture Series (1941) and The Bennington College Lecture Series (1943) where his topic was "Jean Jacques Rousseau: Or is a Free Society Possible?"
After the war, Polanyi received a teaching position at Columbia University (1947–1953). However, his wife had a background as a former communist, which made gaining an entrance visa in the United States impossible. As a result, they moved to Canada, and Polanyi commuted to New York City. In the early 1950s, Polanyi received a large grant from the Ford Foundation to study the economic systems of ancient empires.
Having described the emergence of the modern economic system, Polanyi now sought to understand how "the economy" emerged as a distinct sphere in the distant past. His seminar at Columbia drew several famous scholars and influenced a generation of teachers, resulting in the 1957 volume Trade and Markets in the Early Empires. Polanyi continued to write in his later years and established a new journal entitled Coexistence. In Canada he resided in Pickering, Ontario, where he died in 1964.
Michael Polanyi was a Hungarian-British polymath, who made important theoretical contributions to physical chemistry, economics, and philosophy. He argued that positivism supplies a false account of knowing, which if taken seriously undermines humanity's highest achievements.
Othmar Spann was a conservative Austrian philosopher, sociologist and economist whose radical anti-liberal and anti-Socialist views, based on early 19th century Romantic ideas expressed by Adam Müller et al. and popularized in his books and lecture courses, helped antagonise political factions in Austria during the interwar years.
John Charles Polanyi, is a Hungarian-Canadian chemist who won the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, for his research in chemical kinetics. Polanyi was born in Berlin, Germany prior to his family emigrating in 1933 to the United Kingdom where he was subsequently educated at the University of Manchester, and did postdoctoral research at the National Research Council in Canada and Princeton University in New Jersey. Polanyi's first academic appointment was at the University of Toronto, and he remains there as of 2019. In addition to the Nobel Prize, Polanyi has received numerous other awards, including 33 honorary degrees, the Wolf Prize in Chemistry and the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering. Outside his scientific pursuits, Polanyi is active in public policy discussion, especially concerning science and nuclear weapons. His father, Mihály (Michael), was a noted chemist and philosopher. His uncle Karl was an economist. According to György Marx he was one of The Martians.
Egon Orowan FRS was a Hungarian-British physicist and metallurgist. According to György Marx, he was one of The Martians.
Jenő Fock was a Hungarian Communist politician who served as Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the People's Republic of Hungary from 1967 to 1975.
The Great Transformation is a book by Karl Polanyi, a Hungarian-American political economist. First published in 1944 by Farrar & Rinehart, it deals with the social and political upheavals that took place in England during the rise of the market economy. Polanyi contends that the modern market economy and the modern nation-state should be understood not as discrete elements but as the single human invention he calls the "Market Society".
Imre Bródy was a Hungarian physicist who invented in 1930 the krypton-filled fluorescent lamps , with fellow-Hungarian inventors Emil Theisz, Ferenc Kőrösy and Tivadar Millner. He developed the technology of the production of krypton bulbs together with Michael Polanyi. He was the nephew of writer Sándor Bródy.
Polányi, Polanyi is a surname. There have been a number of prominent individuals in the Polanyi family, illustrated in the following family tree:
Fred L. Block is an American sociologist, and Research Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Davis. Block is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading economic and political sociologists. His interests are wide ranging. He has been noted as an influential follower of Karl Polanyi.
Ilona Duczynska (11 March 1897, Vienna – 24 April 1978, Pickering), was a Polish-Hungarian-Canadian revolutionary, journalist, translator, engineer, and historian. Her husband was Karl Polanyi and her daughter is Kari Polanyi Levitt.
The Budapest School was a school of thought, originally of Marxist humanism, but later of post-Marxism and dissident liberalism that emerged in Hungary in the early 1960s, belonging to so called Hungarian New Left. Its members were students or colleagues of Georg Lukács. The school was originally oriented towards developing Lukacs' later works on social ontology and aesthetics, but quickly began to challenge the paradigm of Lukacsian-Marxism, thus reconstructing contemporary critical theory. Most of the members later came to abandon Marxism. The school also critiqued the "dictatorship over needs" of the Soviet states. Most of the members were forced into exile by the pro-Soviet Hungarian government.
Kari Polanyi Levitt is a Canadian economist, currently Emerita Professor of Economics at McGill University, Montreal. She is known for her work on economic development and economic sovereignty, and in particular for her 1970 book Silent Surrender: The Multinational Corporation in Canada. She is also the literary executor of her father, the economic historian Karl Polanyi.
The opposition between substantivist and formalist economic models was first proposed by Karl Polanyi in his work The Great Transformation (1944).
The Sonntagskreis was an intellectual discussion group in Budapest, Hungary, between 1915 and 1918. The main focus of the group was on the relationship between ideas and the social and historical context of those ideas, a line of thought that led towards the later concepts of "social history of art" and "sociology of knowledge.
Der Österreichische Volkswirt was a German language economics and political magazine published in Vienna, Austria. It was the first business publication in the country.
Alabert Fogarasi, also known as Béla Fogarasi was a Hungarian philosopher and politician.
The Double Movement is a concept originated by Karl Polanyi in his book The Great Transformation. The phrase refers to the dialectical process of marketization and push for social protection against that marketization. First, laissez-faire reformers seek to "disembed" the economy in order to establish what Polanyi calls a "market society" wherein all things are commodified, including what Polanyi terms "false commodities": land, labor, and money. Second, a reactionary "countermovement" arises whereby society attempts to re-embed the economy through the creation of social protections such as labor laws and tariffs. In Polanyi's view, these liberal reformers seek to subordinate society to the market economy, which is taken by these reformers to be self-regulating. To Polanyi, this is a utopian project, as economies are always embedded in societies.
The economistic fallacy is a concept originated by Karl Polanyi in the 1950s, that refers to fallacious conflation of human economy in general, with its market form. Whereas the former is a necessary component of any society, being the organization through which that society meets its physical wants, i.e. reproduces itself, the latter is a modern institution that is neither autonomous nor stable. The fallacy can occur either by narrowing the genus "economic" to merely market phenomena, or overextending "the market" to encompass all aspects of human economic activity. These moves can be seen as equating the conceptual content of "economics" with what is in fact mere form or ideology, instead of with the substance embodied by the specific decisive relations in which humans are engaged in any given period and locale.
The concept of fictitious commodities originated in Karl Polanyi's 1944 book The Great Transformation and refers to anything treated as market commodity that is not created for the market, specifically land, labor, and money.
Chris Hann is a British social anthropologist who has done field research in socialist and post-socialist Eastern Europe and the Turkic-speaking world. His main theoretical interests lie in economic anthropology, religion, and long-term history. After holding university posts in Cambridge and Canterbury, UK, Hann has worked since 1999 in Germany as one of the founding Directors of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle/Saale.
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