The Great Transformation / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Rent from
(Save 67%)
Est. Return Date: 07/22/2015
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 34%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $8.89
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 64%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (27) from $8.89   
  • New (13) from $15.29   
  • Used (14) from $8.89   


In this classic work of economic history and social theory, Karl Polanyi analyzes the economic and social changes brought about by the "great transformation" of the Industrial Revolution. His analysis explains not only the deficiencies of the self-regulating market, but the potentially dire social consequences of untempered market capitalism. New introductory material reveals the renewed importance of Polanyi's seminal analysis in an era of globalization and free trade.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
As the Second World War was drawing to a close in 1944, two great works of political economy were published. One was Hayek's The Road to Serfdom, the driving force behind the free-market revolution in the final quarter of the twentieth century. The other was Karl Polanyi's The Great Transformation. . . . [It] is well worth reading. -Larry Elliott, The Guardian

"[The Great Transformation] did more than any work of that generation to broaden and deepen the critique of market societies."-John Buell, The Progressive

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807056431
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 1/18/2001
  • Edition description: None
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 196,854
  • Product dimensions: 5.52 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Karl Polanyi (1886-1964) is considered one of the twentieth century's most discerning economic historians. He left his position as senior editor of Vienna's leading financial and economic weekly in 1933, became a British citizen, taught adult extension programs for Oxford and London Universities, and held visiting chairs at Bennington College and Columbia University. He is co-author of Christianity and the Social Revolution; author of The Great Transformation; Trade and Market in Early Empires (with C.Arnsberg and H.Pearson) and posthumously, Dahomey and the Slave Trade (with A.Rotstein).

Joseph E. Stiglitz was formerly chair of President Clinton's Council of Economic Advisors, and chief economist of the World Bank. He is professor of economics at Stanford University, and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Fred Block is professor of sociology at the University of California, Davis.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Note on the 2001 Edition
Author's Acknowledgments
Pt. 1 The International System
1 The Hundred Years' Peace 3
2 Conservative Twenties, Revolutionary Thirties 21
Pt. 2 Rise and Fall of Market Economy
3 "Habitation versus Improvement" 35
4 Societies and Economic Systems 45
5 Evolution of the Market Pattern 59
6 The Self-Regulating Market and the Fictitious Commodities: Labor, Land, and Money 71
7 Speenhamland, 1795 81
8 Antecedents and Consequences 90
9 Pauperism and Utopia 108
10 Political Economy and the Discovery of Society 116
11 Man, Nature, and Productive Organization 136
12 Birth of the Liberal Creed 141
13 Birth of the Liberal Creed (Continued): Class Interest and Social Change 158
14 Market and Man 171
15 Market and Nature 187
16 Market and Productive Organization 201
17 Self-Regulation Impaired 210
18 Disruptive Strains 218
Pt. 3 Transformation in Progress
19 Popular Government and Market Economy 231
20 History in the Gear of Social Change 245
21 Freedom in a Complex Society 257
Balance of Power as Policy, Historical Law, Principle, and System 269
Hundred Years' Peace 273
The Snapping of the Golden Thread 274
Swings of the Pendulum after World War I 275
Finance and Peace 275
Selected References to "Societies and Economic Systems" 276
Selected References to "Evolution of the Market Pattern" 280
The Literature of Speenhamland 285
Poor Law and the Organization of Labor 288
Speenhamland and Vienna 298
Why Not Whitbread's Bill? 299
Disraeli's "Two Nations" and the Problem of Colored Races 300
Index 305
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 26, 2009

    A Deep Well of Insight

    Polanyi's book is a fascinating exploration of the market assumptions which still underlie much economic thought in our day. That Austrian School and Neo-Liberal/Classical economists have such vitriolic contempt for this work evidences its radical reinterpretation of free-market origins. A crucial piece for anyone who wishes to better understand the social and ideological genesis of our age.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 9, 2009

    One of the best non-fiction books ever written

    Whether you're into economics, sociology, history or politics, this is a classic you will not want to miss. It's probably the single most intriguing book I have read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2002

    Satanic Mill

    This epic work has transformed the way we look at classical economic and political history. The father of the "Markets as a Creation" model and the "Ficticious Commoidification" theories, create new understandings of comparative political-economic theory. "The Great Transformation" is a timeless peice, allowing us to see capitalism, human motivation, and society in new light.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)