Our Obsolete Market Mentality

From Karl Polanyi
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[197] The first century of the Machine Age is drawing to a close amid fear and trepidation. Its fabulous material success was due to the willing, indeed the enthusiastic, subordination of man to the need of the machine. […]

Today, we begin to doubt the truth of some of these thoughts and the validity of some of these values. Outside the United States, liberal capitalism can hardly be said to exist any more. How to organize human life in a machinery society is a question that confronts us anew. Behind the fading fabric of competitive capitalism there looms the labor, standardization of life, supremacy of mechanism over organism, and organization over spontaneity. Science itself is haunted by insanity. This is the abiding concern.

No mere reversion … […]

[…] … the search for industrial democracy is not merely the search for a solution to the problem of [198] capitalism, as most people imagine. It is a search for an answer to industry itself (…) a new dispensation requires an inner freedom for which we are but ill equipped. We find ourselves stultified by the legacy of a market-economy which bequeathed us oversimplified views of the function and role on the economic system in society. If the crisis it to be overcome, we must recapture a more realistic vision of the human world and shape our common purpose in the light of that recognition. […]

The Fundamental Heresy

The Market Trauma

Hunger and Gain Enthroned


Birth of a Delusion

Economic Determinism

[206] Maine … Tönnies …

Sex and Hunger

[207] Robert Owen

The Reality of Society

[208] it is impossible to deny that industrial society is complex society, and no complex society can exist without organized power at the center. […] No human society is possible in which power and compulsion are absent, nor a world in which force has no function. Liberal philosophy gave a false direction to our ideals in seeming to promise the fulfilment of such utopian expectations.

[209] … David Hume …

The Problem of Freedom

[…] … like Hayek, … […]

Mans Vs. Industry

Text Informations

Original Publication: “Our obsolete market mentality”, Commentary, vol. III, n°2, February 1947
KPA: 35/06 (41 p.; several copies of publications) + 42/12 (Copy of an Italian, posthumous edition, 1978)
Recent Publications in English:

Lg Name
FR « Notre mentalité de marché est obsolète ! »