1st Edition

Polanyi in times of populism Vision and contradiction in the history of economic ideas

By Christopher Holmes Copyright 2018
    188 Pages
    by Routledge

    186 Pages
    by Routledge

    The rise of populism across Europe and the US – first in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis and then in the shape of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Brexit vote in 2016 – are indicative of a seismic shift in the terrain of economic ideas in public discourse. Settled liberal norms concerning ever-increasing international market expansion, and the political integration required to sustain it, have been decisively upset by political forces that, whilst once on the fringes, now dominate economic debate. How might we make sense of this ideological breakdown and what might we hope for next?

    This book turns to the work of Karl Polanyi for answers, developing the expansive, historicised approach to political economy that Polanyi pioneered. Holmes provides a wide-ranging history of economic ideas read in terms of a series of hopeful theoretical visions of order, in which political, social and ecological contradictions could be transcended in one way or another. Through this, the book demonstrates that the failing utopian visions of pre-2008 economic orthodoxy, which have formed the backdrop to the rise of populism today, are only the latest in a series that stretches across economic thought in Western modernity as a whole.

    This book will interest students and scholars of IPE, political science, sociology, anthropology, law and history.

    Part I - Polanyian perspectives Chapter 1 - Polanyi in times of Brexit and Trump Chapter 2 - Towards a post-Polanyian approach Part II - Contradiction and transcendence Chapter 3 - Property, order and commerce Chapter 4 - Justice, price and power Chapter 5 - Transcendence and the disembedding of economic ideas Part III - Marketised social protection Chapter 6 - Money and finance Chapter 7 - Nature and climate change Chapter 8 - People and welfare provision Part IV – Contradiction without transcendence Chapter 9 – Habitation versus improvement today


    Christopher Holmes is a Lecturer in Political Economy at King’s College, London. He works on various topics including the history of economic ideas, financial and monetary politics and alternatives to GDP in policy-making. He has published in a variety of leading journals including Economy and Society, New Political Economy, Review of International Political Economy and the British Journal of Politics and International Relations.