Karl Paul Polanyi (Hungarian: Pol├ínyi K├íroly [╦łpola╦É╔│i ╦łka╦É╔żoj]; born October 25, 1886, Vienna, Austro-Hungarian Empire ÔÇô April 23, 1964, Pickering, Ontario) was a Hungarian economic historian, economic anthropologist, political economist and social philosopher. He is known for his opposition to traditional economic thought and his book, The Great Transformation. Polanyi is remembered today as the originator of substantivism, a cultural approach to economics, which emphasized the way economies are embedded in society and culture. This view ran counter to mainstream economics but was popular in anthropology, economic history, economic sociology and political science.
Polanyi's approach to the ancient economies has been applied to a variety of cases, such as Pre-Columbian America and ancient Mesopotamia, although its utility to the study of ancient societies in general has been questioned. Polanyi's The Great Transformation became a model for historical sociology. His theories eventually became the foundation for the economic democracy movement. His daughter Kari Polanyi-Levitt is Emerita Professor of Economics at McGill University, Montreal. Continue Reading »
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