One of the twentieth century's most thorough and discerning historians, Karl Polanyi sheds "new illumination on . . . the social implications of a particular economic system, the market economy that grew into full stature in the nineteenth century." -R. M. MacIver
While AI, robots, bio-technologies and digital media are transforming work, culture and social life, there is little understanding of or agreement about the scope and significance of this change. This new interpretation of the ‘great transformation’ uses history and evolutionary theory to highlight the momentous shift in human consciousness taking place. Only by learning from recent crises and rejecting technological determinism will governments and communities re-design social arrangements that ensure we all benefit from the new and emerging technologies. The book documents the transformations underway in financial markets, entertainment, medicine, affecting all aspects of work and social life. It draws on historical sociology and co-evolutionary theory arguing that the radical evolution of human consciousness and social life now underway is comparable to, if not greater than the agrarian revolution (10,000 BCE), the explosion of science, philosophy and religion in the Axial age (600 BCE), and the recent industrial revolution. Turning to recent major socio-economic crisis, and asking what can be learnt from them, the answer is we cannot afford this time around to repeat the failures of elites and theoretical systems like economics to attend appropriately to radical change. We need to think beyond the constraints of determinist and reductionist explanations and embrace the idea of deep freedom. This book will appeal to educators, social scientists, policy-makers, business leaders and students. It concludes with social design principles that can inform deliberative processes and new social arrangements that ensure everyone benefits from the affordances of the new and emerging technologies.
From one of the world’s leading writers on religion and the highly acclaimed author of the bestselling A History of God, The Battle for God and The Spiral Staircase, comes a major new work: a chronicle of one of the most important intellectual revolutions in world history and its relevance to our own time. In one astonishing, short period – the ninth century BCE – the peoples of four distinct regions of the civilized world created the religious and philosophical traditions that have continued to nourish humanity into the present day: Confucianism and Daoism in China; Hinduism and Buddhism in India; monotheism in Israel; and philosophical rationalism in Greece. Historians call this the Axial Age because of its central importance to humanity’s spiritual development. Now, Karen Armstrong traces the rise and development of this transformative moment in history, examining the brilliant contributions to these traditions made by such figures as the Buddha, Socrates, Confucius and Ezekiel. Armstrong makes clear that despite some differences of emphasis, there was remarkable consensus among these religions and philosophies: each insisted on the primacy of compassion over hatred and violence. She illuminates what this “family” resemblance reveals about the religious impulse and quest of humankind. And she goes beyond spiritual archaeology, delving into the ways in which these Axial Age beliefs can present an instructive and thought-provoking challenge to the ways we think about and practice religion today. A revelation of humankind’s early shared imperatives, yearnings and inspired solutions – as salutary as it is fascinating. Excerpt from The Great Transformation: In our global world, we can no longer afford a parochial or exclusive vision. We must learn to live and behave as though people in remote parts of the globe were as important as ourselves. The sages of the Axial Age did not create their compassionate ethic in idyllic circumstances. Each tradition developed in societies like our own that were torn apart by violence and warfare as never before; indeed, the first catalyst of religious change was usually a visceral rejection of the aggression that the sages witnessed all around them. . . . All the great traditions that were created at this time are in agreement about the supreme importance of charity and benevolence, and this tells us something important about our humanity.
In the 1980s the performance of Japan’s economy was an international success story, and led many economists to suggest that the 1990s would be a Japanese decade. Today, however, the dominant view is that Japan is inescapably on a downward slope. Rather than focusing on the evolution of the performance of Japanese capitalism, this book reflects on the changes that it has experienced over the past 30 years, and presents a comprehensive analysis of the great transformation of Japanese capitalism from the heights of the 1980s, through the lost decades of the 1990s, and well into the 21st century. This book posits an alternative analysis of the Japanese economic trajectory since the early 1980s, and argues that whereas policies inspired by neo-liberalism have been presented as a solution to the Japanese crisis, these policies have in fact been one of the causes of the problems that Japan has faced over the past 30 years. Crucially, this book seeks to understand the institutional and organisational changes that have characterised Japanese capitalism since the 1980s, and to highlight in comparative perspective, with reference to the ‘neo-liberal moment’, the nature of the transformation of Japanese capitalism. Indeed, the arguments presented in this book go well beyond Japan itself, and examine the diversity of capitalism, notably in continental Europe, which has experienced problems that in many ways are also comparable to those of Japan. The Great Transformation of Japanese Capitalism will appeal to students and scholars of both Japanese politics and economics, as well as those interested in comparative political economy.
This textbook addresses the three most important large-scale transformations that have reshaped India since 1989: the advent of liberal economic reform, the ascendance of Hindu cultural nationalism, and the empowerment of historically subordinate classes through popular democratic mobilizations. Filling a gap in the literature, it describes, explains and assesses the nexus between these central transformations in a rigorous and integrated manner.
Four years into the unfolding of the most serious crisis since the 1930s, Karl Polanyi's prediction of the fateful consequences of unleashing the destructive power of unregulated market capitalism on peoples, nations, and the natural environment have assumed new urgency and relevance. Polanyi's insistence that 'the self-regulating market' must be made subordinate to democracy otherwise society itself may be put at risk is as true today as it was when Polanyi wrote. Written from the unique perspective of his daughter, From the Great Transformation to the Great Financialization is an essential contribution to our understanding of the evolution and contemporary significance of Karl Polanyi's work, and should be read against the background of the accelerating accumulation of global finance that created a series of financial crises in Latin America, Russia, Asia, and, eventually, the heartlands of capitalism itself.
Chile is frequently cited as a remarkable success story of neoliberal economic restructuring. In fact, countries around the world are encouraged to follow the Chilean model so that they can reap the extraordinary benefits of rapid growth and expanding export markets associated with the drastic economic reform in Chile. But the Chilean experience is extremely complicated and contradictory. The international discussion on economic restructuring in Latin America often runs on two tracks: one dominated by consultants and scholars from the English-speaking world and another in which Latin Americans talk to each other. This book attempts to bridge the gap. Two outstanding Chilean scholars and activists present an original interpretation of the Chilean experience. They cut through the rhetoric surrounding "the Chilean miracle" and provide an integrated analysis of the process of socioeconomic and political change that transformed their country between 1970 and 1990. In so doing, they discover not only a neoliberal revolution, but a capitalist revolution with roots far deeper than the Pinochet reforms. The book provides a valuable resource for people around the world who hope to understand the principal "success story" of Latin American adjustment. Copublished with the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development.