Saturday, November 7, 2020

Review of The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time by Karl Polanyi

Book can be found in:
Genre = Economics, History

Elaborate Description

A book that tries to point out that capitalism has costs and that certain institutions prevent the cost from exacerbating. It is true that progress has some creative destruction and those that are harmed by it could be helped until they are better, but it does not mean that progress should be slowed or halted just because a few become harmed. The book does a good job at discussing both the advantages and disadvantages of the system and policies which creates credibility that the author is trying not to hide any aspect. This book is like the antithesis to Hayek's Road To Serfdom, for in this book regulating production creates a free society. A problem with the book is that capitalism is explained in the extreme where human emotion is taken out while social interaction while socialism is taken in a moderate sense rather than extreme; creating a disadvantage for any free market policy in the book. For example, the author explains that in socialism many people can trade via reciprocity rather than just money exchange as in a capitalistic system, but reciprocity exist in society in any system a nation is under because it is a human emotion rather than inherent in a socialist system. The author at times gives a good explanation of a certain policy outcome but declares a huge extrapolation that is far from what has been explained. Sometimes an explanation is not even given by a remark of apparent obviousness of the meaning, the problem is that what might be obvious to the author is not so obvious to the reader who might appreciate a little more explanation.

Book Details

Edition ISBN:  9780807056431
Pages to read:   303
Publication:     2001
1st Edition:      1957
Format:            Paperback

Ratings out of 5:
Readability    2
Content          4
Overall           3