To Paul Medow (19 February 1958)

From Karl Polanyi
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[55] Dear Paul,

Harry is not far off the mark in speaking of a “stern refusal by the economists (and, I think, others) to consider a substantive position for a comparative economics”. Nevertheless, I have based my (recent) own individual application to the Rockefeller Foundation precisely on this position. In regard to the economist’s achievements on the underdeveloped countries (in spite of some good work) I wrote that nothing could be really expected without some basic research such as only substantive concepts make possible. I expressly referred to Menger’s posthumous edition of his Grundsätze (1923) which had been consistently ignored – it is still untranslated – by the [m]ost of economists writing on the history of economic doctrines. I do believe now that we should all equip ourselves with some minimum references to this explosive material. It has been ticking for 35 years – that time bomb, I mean.

Looking forward to Saturday.


(signed) Karl

Letter Informations

KPA: 50/02, 55