The Disembedded economy
Why might Polanyi claim that disembedded economies are less stable than embedded ones?
Does a market society require a certain level of insecurity for its members?
How might people find a disembedded economy empowering?
Can there be such a thing as a ‘pure’ market society?
Is ‘marketization’ a helpful concept with which to understand contemporary capitalism?
Industrial capitalism and machines etc were all part of the establishment of the market economy. The motive of subsistence must become one of gain. The merchant makes his profits on the market and prices are allowed to regulate themselves. Such a self-regulating system of markets is what we call a market economy. The transformation to this system is like the metamorphis of a caterpillar- so stark that it is almost not like a continuous process. Machines in a society transform nature into a commodity. Dalton on Polanyi:
Material self-gain is institutionally enforced
In traditional bands the institutions through which goods were produced and distributed wer embedded in an inseperable part of social institutions, and the economy functioned as by product of kinship political and religious obligations and relationships. ‘economy’ is not a field of experience of which humans have always been aware. Primitive societies are gemeinchaften not gesellshaften. Hunger is not an incentive for production. Classical economics and Marxist socialism came from the industrial revolution. Laissez faire capitalism was created in response to the need for machine technology
Economics deals with the material means to man’s existence: Does the good have to be ‘material’ in order to be in the realm of economic? Price of a ticket or the cost of someone’s wages are not material yet are economic. We economize between material and non material ends. Do I work overtime in order to afford myself a DVD or do I refuse the overtime and have more leisure time at home with my family?...
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