Gift Guide

Karl Polanyi: The Limits of the Market [NOOK Book]


Karl Polanyi's The Great Transformation is acclaimed as being among the most influential works of economic history in the twentieth century, and remains as vital in the current historical conjuncture as it was in his own. In its critique of nineteenth-century 'market fundamentalism' it reads as a warning to our own neoliberal age, and is widely touted as a prophetic guidebook for those who aspire to understand the causes and dynamics of global economic turbulence at the end of ...

See more details below
Karl Polanyi: The Limits of the Market

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$13.99 price
(Save 43%)$24.95 List Price
Note: This NOOK Book can be purchased in bulk. Please email us for more information.


Karl Polanyi's The Great Transformation is acclaimed as being among the most influential works of economic history in the twentieth century, and remains as vital in the current historical conjuncture as it was in his own. In its critique of nineteenth-century 'market fundamentalism' it reads as a warning to our own neoliberal age, and is widely touted as a prophetic guidebook for those who aspire to understand the causes and dynamics of global economic turbulence at the end of the 2000s.

Karl Polanyi: The Limits of the Market is the first comprehensive introduction to Polanyi's ideas and legacy. It assesses not only the texts for which he is famous, prepared during his spells in American academia, but also his journalistic articles, written in his first exile in Vienna, as well as lectures and pamphlets from his second exile in Britain. It provides a detailed critical analysis of The Great Transformation, but also surveys Polanyi's seminal writings on economic anthropology, the economic history of ancient and archaic societies, and political and economic theory. Its primary source base includes interviews with Polanyi's daughter, Kari Polanyi Levitt, as well as the entire compass of his own published and unpublished writings in English and German.

This engaging and accessible introduction to Polanyi's thinking will appeal to students and scholars across the social sciences, providing a refreshing perspective on the roots of our current economic crisis.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is now the place to turn if one wishes to understand Polanyi's contribution, [which is] put forward with brilliance."
John Hall, European Journal of Sociology

"A long-overdue comprehensive analysis of the work of Karl Polanyi. Gareth Dale's book strikes a helpful balance between a broadly sympathetic admiration for the man and his writing and careful critical analysis."
Times Higher Education

"Dale has written a fine book in which his exposition and assessment of Polanyi's life's work is both highly illuminating and thoroughly convincing. It will long remain the standard authority."
Marx & Philosophy

"A timely, complex, and thought-provoking evaluation of Karl Polanyi's significance in contemporary thought."
Sociological Review

"This book is a complex and sophisticated analysis of a complex and sophisticated thinker. It is both a fair and detailed exposition of all of Polanyi's writings and a careful evaluation of the major criticisms of Polanyi."
Immanuel Wallerstein, Yale University

"Gareth Dale's book is the most erudite and theoretically comprehensive account of Polanyi's ideas that I have come across. This is above all an exercise in intertextuality and is a remarkable example of intellectual dialogue."
Keith Hart, Goldsmiths, University of London

"This book will very likely become the definitive source on Polanyi's ideas and the ensuing debates. Gareth Dale combines a respectful and admiring attitude with unassailable theoretical erudition and clear-headed sobriety. Dale's extensive clarification on Polanyi also stands on its own as a serious contribution to current ideological debates and scholarly controversies regarding the prospects of post capitalist transitions."
Georgi Derluguian, Northwestern University

"Karl Polanyi's work is attracting ever-increasing interest. Gareth Dale has produced an invaluable guide to his writings, ranging from Political Philosophy to Economic History and Anthropology. It is well-researched and organized with a systematic review and evaluation of critiques, revealing the underlying coherence of Polanyi's world of thought."
Kari Polanyi Levitt, McGill University

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745658254
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 4/24/2013
  • Series: Key Contemporary Thinkers
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • File size: 673 KB

Meet the Author

Gareth Dale is a Senior Lecturer at Brunel University
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents




Karl Polanyi for the neoliberal age.

Individual responsibility and the quest for community.

Some systemically satanic features of capitalism.

From civilizational breakdown to neoliberalism.

Chapter 1: The economics and ethics of socialism.

Responsibility and 'overview': the socialist accounting debate.

Critique and rejoinder.

The subjugation of moral ends to economic means.

Towards a synthesis of Communism and Christianity.

Chapter 2: The Great Transformation.

The Liberal Century: contradictions of a golden age.

Birth of the market economy.

Malthus, Ricardo and Speenhamland.

Marketization and its backwash.

Disruptive strains and the end of elasticity.

The originality of The Great Transformation.

Some criticisms of the conceptual framework.

Some criticisms of the historical argument.

Chapter 3: The descent of Economic Man.

From homo Ĺ“conomicus to homo communisticus.

The debate over methods.

From marginalism to formalism.

Two meanings of economic.

Mechanisms of integration.

Inconsistencies and ambiguities.

The formalist rejoinder.

Marxist interpositions.

The debate scatters and dissolves.

Chapter 4: Trade, markets and money in archaic societies.

Introduction: the oikos debate.

'Primitive' and archaic trade, markets and money.

Ancient Mesopotamia: three theses.

Mesopotamia: evaluation and critique.

Trade and markets in Bronze and Iron Age Greece.

Greece: evaluation and critique.

West Africa: Dahomey, Whydah and Tivland.

Dahomey and the Tiv: evaluation and critique.

From Meso-America to rural India via the Berber Highlands.


Chapter 5: 'Disembedded' and 'always embedded' economies.

Embeddedness: a genealogy.

Further adventures of a concept.

Embeddedness and decommodification in the mid-twentieth century.

Chapter 6: 'At the brink of a great transformation?' Neoliberalism and the countermovement today.

Explaining the neoliberal ascendancy.

Alternative futures: participatory planning and the mixed economy.

No dearth of countermovements.

Pendular forces.

The Great Oscillation.

In place of a conclusion: thoughts on the current predicament.


A liberal anti-Communist?

A Marxist? A Romantic?

Tribute and critique.




Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
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

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