The Life and Work of Karl Polanyi

The Life and Work of Karl Polanyi

Edited by Kari Levitt. 1990.


Karl Polanyi believed that the greatest threat to freedom was a poorly administered economy. His search for economic and political institutions which reconciled society’s need for freedom to develop a moral sense, with the requirements of our complex technological civilization, led him to believe a possibility and necessity of an economics that was more existential and human-centered. He did not underestimate the significance of livelihood to lives; he recognised that an inadequate quantity of the former was detrimental to the quality of the latter. He emphasized nonetheless that beyond sufficent livelihood, preoccupation with the pursuit of even more economic wealth greatly erodes the quality of human existence.

Although the principal concern of this book is in developing that thinking for its significance to the practice of economies and everyday life in democratic societies, it also treats the life of Polanyi from a perspective that conveys an impression of the man, his times, and his place in the evolution of social and economic thought.

“Economics has to return to some very basic questions of use value and exchange value. We have to take into account the real value of human effort and work, and that is very different from its market value. We have to protect nature and our social and cultural heritage. People do not like to be valued and respected only for the income which they can earn, and to be totally disrespected if they are not able to earn income for whatever reason.” From Development and Regionalism Karl Polanyi’s Ideas and the Contemporary World System by Professor Kari Levitt.


1990*264 pages*photographs
ISBN: 0-921689-80-2
Hardcover ISBN: 0-21689-81-0

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