Continuing on from Smith and Durkheim we now come to the work of Karl Polanyi. In our set of readings Polanyi's The Great Transformation is the first to advance a polemic explantion of a modern social and economic order.
Karl Polanyi [masked]) ranged across anthropology, philosophy and economic history and his book The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time brings these fields together in a work which sought to place modern free market economics in its social and political context. In doing so he contradicted what many modern economists had taken and do take as axiomatic: that markets are a natural by-product of society. In contextualising markets Polanyi was asserting that “laissez-faire was planned” and left open the possibility of there being another way of organising a society. He was most decidedly in favour of finding an alternative as he saw the contemporary arrangements of capitalism to be socially destructive.
Polanyi, Karl, The Great Transformation (Chapters 4, 5 and 6).