Titanic Journalism

From Karl Polanyi
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[151] The causes of the global cataclysm of 1914 undoubtedly lies in the fact that we committed a grave error in the intellectual division of labour.


[152] Eugen Dühring and Karl Marx […] David Hume […] John Locke […] Rousseau. François Quesnay (…) Turgot (…) Adam Smith […]

Benedetto Croce


[153] not only […] What socialist writers such as Saint-Simon, William Morris, Henry George, Tolstoy and most recently H.G. Wells insisted with such passion – the primacy of human problems of nature – now finally seems to be recognized.

With this, the contours of a titanic journalism appear on the horizon. […]

A boundless scepticism with regard to society …

The relationship between population and food […] John Maynard Keynes […] Bertrand Russell. Lenin, too, … […] Alfred Weber […] Walther Rathenau, … […].

…it has become increasingly evident that the ideal of capitalism never acted on the basis of rational calculation and common sense (as he believed), but under the influence of all manner of beliefs with mysterious origins, economic superstitions and religious convictions.


These dilettante newcomers tower about the ‘experts’ who are busily formulating their currency equations. Their intellects are fresher, more original and adventurous, but also sharper and more educated than those of economists. They are more radical, profound and concrete. Most importantly, they are not ashamed of acknowledging their ignorance of those things that the economists know no more about than they do but of which they are too afraid to admit their ignorance. […] The critique voiced by the new journalists goes deeper. Whereas for materialistic socialism, machine production remains a taboo (…) the new journalism does not leave unexamined any of the intellectual heritage which the generation of the nineteenth century bequeathed to us. […] The new journalism portrays the psychological and religious preconditions of the so-called transitional era of capitalism in a completely new light. […] The new journalism is placing its intellectual wherewithal in the service of humanity, and, so long as it remains guided genuinely by a spirit of devotion and love for humanity, we can expect much good to come from it.

Text Informations

Original Publication: “Titáni publicisztika”, Bécsi Magyar Újság, 23 September 1922
KPA: 01/50, 15 (1 p. ; original)
Recent Enlcish Translation: “Titanic Journalism”, in POLANYI 2016, p. 151-154
Other Languages:

Lg Name
FR Le journalisme titanesque