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Kari Polanyi on her father Karl Polanyi

Summary:
As you might expect, when it comes to the Polanyi brothers, my intellectual tastes align more with Michael than with Karl.  But, since my return to teaching Economic Sociology to graduate students, I have studied Karl Polanyi's work and its lasting impact in the field.  To be honest, I do not find Karl Polanyi that impressive either analytically or observationally. But the reality is that The Great Transformation had an oversized influence and continues to do so, and thus I need to listen more carefully to why others are so moved by a work that I find to be so pedestrian in terms of economic theory, historical scholarship, and political economy implications. Upon reading a first draft of chapters of what would become Hayek's The Fatal Conceit, I often said that Hayek had provided

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As you might expect, when it comes to the Polanyi brothers, my intellectual tastes align more with Michael than with Karl.  But, since my return to teaching Economic Sociology to graduate students, I have studied Karl Polanyi's work and its lasting impact in the field.  To be honest, I do not find Karl Polanyi that impressive either analytically or observationally. But the reality is that The Great Transformation had an oversized influence and continues to do so, and thus I need to listen more carefully to why others are so moved by a work that I find to be so pedestrian in terms of economic theory, historical scholarship, and political economy implications.

Upon reading a first draft of chapters of what would become Hayek's The Fatal Conceit, I often said that Hayek had provided the perfect antidote to Karl Polanyi with that book, as he clearly states the underlying philosophical anthropology of the long process of economic and political development from pre-history of man through antiquity to modernity.

Watch these series of short clips from an interview at Institute for New Economic Thinking with Kari Polanyi (his daughter and a scholar of her own right).

Remember I said, I need to listen, not to critique, and certainly not to indict, but just to  what is attractive and compelling about the ideas and the way they are presented and the insights that are promised.  This seemed like a genuinely good place to start that process.

Peter Boettke
Peter Joseph Boettke (January 3, 1960) is an American economist of the Austrian School. He is currently a University Professor of Economics and Philosophy at George Mason University; the BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism, Vice President for Research, and Director of the F.A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center at GMU.

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