Reconstructing Karl Polanyi : Excavation and Critique (2016): Blurb and review

I have a strong interest in the work of Karl Polanyi. What he says makes sense to me.

A blurb for Reconstructing Karl Polanyi : Excavation and Critique (2016) reads:

Karl Polanyi was one of the most influential political economists of the twentieth century and is widely regarded as the most gifted of social democratic theorists. In Reconstructing Karl Polanyi, Gareth Dale, one of the foremost scholars of Polanyi, provides a sweeping survey of his contributions to the social sciences.Polanyi’s intellectual and political outlook can best be summarised through paradoxical formulations such as ‘liberal socialist’ and ‘cosmopolitan patriot’. In exploring these paradoxes, Dale draws upon a wide array of primary sources to reconstruct Polanyi’s views on a range of topics that have been neglected in the critical literature, including the history of antiquity, the evolution and dynamics of Stalin’s Russia, McCarthyism and his critical dialogue with Marxism.Dale also analyses Polanyi’s relevance to current issues, notably the ‘clash’ between democracy and capitalism, and the nature and trajectory of European unification. This is an essential and original study for anyone interested in the formation and application of social democracy.

Review of Reconstructing Karl Polanyi : Excavation and Critique (2016)

A London School of Economics and Political Science article is entitled: “Book Review: Reconstructing Karl Polanyi: Excavation and Critique by Gareth Dale.”

The introduction to the LSE review reads:

In Reconstructing Karl Polanyi: Excavation and Critique, Gareth Dale contributes a further volume to his decade-long research into the life and thought of the influential political economist. Here, he provides an account of Polanyi’s specific contributions to the social sciences, reconstructs some of his more complex or elusive concepts and reflects on the relevance of his theories to present-day issues including the European Union. While he would recommend Dale’s previous works to those less familiar with Polanyi due to the book’s density, Chris Moreh praises this as a magisterial addition to Dale’s project that ensures that Polanyi’s thought is more alive than ever.



A May 30, 2017 Boston Review article is entitled: “Polanyi, the Failed Prophet of Moral Economics.”

According to the review, Polanyi lost his way. However, it’s just one review. I have an interest in reading more by and about Polanyi – in particular, about his quest.

I am reminded of an article from some time back. A Dec. 29, 2016 Guardian article is entitled: “Angela Merkel and the history book that helped inform her worldview: Jürgen Osterhammel’s The Transformation of the World left its mark on the German chancellor, judging by her recent decisions.”

A book that also comes to mind is: Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle (2008).

A blurb notes:

Summary/Review: A linguist offers a thought-provoking account of his experiences and discoveries while living with the Pirahã, a small tribe of Amazonian Indians living in central Brazil and a people possessing a language that defies accepted linguistic theories and reflects a culture that has no counting system, concept of war, or personal property, and lives entirely in the present.


Of relevance to our understanding of broader trends in more recent economic history, a June 5, 2017 London School of Economics article is entitled: “Book Review: Platform Capitalism by Nick Srnicek.”

A June 19, 2017 Aeon article is entitled: “The bloodstained leveller: Throughout history, plagues and wars have left greater equality in their wake. Can we get there again without violence?”


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