Karl Polanyi and the Paradoxes of the Double Movement
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This book offers a critical reconstruction of the double movement, the central thesis of Karl Polanyi’s The Great Transformation, one of the most influential books of the 20th century. The double movement is the establishment of a free market economy and the subsequent effort by society to ameliorate the destructive effects of the market.
In Polanyi’s bold vision, the double movement constituted the hidden gear of social change and historical transformation within capitalism. The book is a forensic examination and critique of Polanyi’s argument. It develops an interpretive framework of the double movement as four interrelated social processes: the establishment of the self-regulating market, the rise of a market society that deepens and extends market imperatives, a social protection phase that constrains the market and safeguards society, and the contradictions and crises that result from this clash of social principles.
The book will be an indispensable guide for students and scholars across the social sciences which illuminates the relevance of Polanyi’s insights to a critical understanding of the contemporary era –the scourge of insecurity and inequality, the multiple crises of neoliberalism, the rise of right wing populism- as well as those interested in egalitarian and emancipatory alternatives to capitalism.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: The Paradoxes of Karl Polanyi
2. The Origins of the Self-Regulating Market
3. The Dynamics of a Market Society
4. The Politics of Social Protection
5. Contradictions and Crisis in the Double Movement
6. The Double Movement in the Contemporary Era
7. Transcending the Double Movement
John Vail is currently a Visiting Professor in the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology at Newcastle University where he was previously a Senior Lecturer of Sociology until his retirement. His research interests are in egalitarian political economy. He has edited volumes on insecurity and alternative approaches to full employment and has written several articles on decommodification and egalitarian political economy. With Professor Robert Hollands, he has written a series of papers on the transformative cultural activism of the Newcastle based film and photography collective, Amber Films.