Economics and Freedom to Shape Our Social Destiny

From Karl Polanyi
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Economics and Freedom to Shape Our Social Destiny

[2] Dogmatic belief in economic determinism in its different forms has become a chief obstacle to the progress of mankind. The total view from which pessimism results is this:

All thinking persons recognize the precariousness of the human condition to-day.

Text in English to type

[3] [4]

[5] However, we are here concerned with actual, but only assumed motives. For not in psychology, but on the ideology of every day life are views on man's nature built. Accordingly, hunger and gain were singled out as “economic motives” and mas was supposed to be acting on them in practice while his other motives appealed more etheral and remote from humdrum existence. Honor and pride, civic obligation and moral duty, even self respect and common decency, were now deemed irrelevant to production, and were significant summed up in the world "ideal". Hence man was believed to consist of two components, one more akin to hunger and gain, the other to honor and power. The one was "material", the other "ideal"; the one "economic", the other "non-economic"; the one "rational", the other "non-rational". Utilitarian philosophers went so far as to identify the two sets of terms, thus endowing the "economic" with the aura of rationality. He who would have refused to imagine that he was acting for gain alone was thus considered not only immoral, but also insane.

The picture of man and society that was induced by this condition of affairs was this:
As regards man, we were made to accept the notion that his motives can be described as 'material' and 'ideal', and that the incentives on which everyday life is organized spring from the 'material' motives.

[6] [7] [8] […] John Stuart Mill wrote, […]

Economics and Freedom to Shape Our World

[9] Mr. Chairman:

I am greatly conscious of the responsibility entailed in the honor of addressing our meeting. I wish to discharge by obligation by putting before you sincerely, […]

…to maintain himself in the technological environment which he has created. The Moscow Trials, Auschwitz and Hiroshima are portants.

I submit… [10] [11] [12] [13] [14]

Texts Informations

Date: after 1945
KPA: 37/04 (7 and 6 typed pages)