The Power of Market Fundamentalism: Karl Polanyi's Critique (Roundtable Discussion)

Craig Calhoun , Maurice Glasman , Michael McQuarrie and Margaret Somers
Session Organizer:
David Woodruff
Friday, 3 July 2015: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM
CLM.4.02 (Clement House)
Roundtable discussion on the recent book by Fred Block and Margaret Somers,The Power of Market Fundamentalism: Karl Polanyi's Critique(Harvard, 2014).  The book surveys, extends, or critiques a number of arguments by this foundational thinker for the politics of governance and regulation. When Polanyi wrote his book, he expected that the world had expanded its experiment with utopian free-market capitalism. The resurgence of neoliberalism with the ending of the period of "embedded liberalism" (a term Ruggie coined in homage to Polanyi's theory), however, raised important questions not only about the reasons for his incorrect prediction but also about what resources his theory offers for making sense of current developments. In this regard, Block and Somers' reconstruction of Polanyi's analysis of the appeals of market fundamentalism is particularly timely.

Discussants will address aspects of the book they find relevant to current concerns with how markets should and can be governed, especially in the shadow of an international financial crisis that bears many resemblances to the inter-war crisis Polanyi analysed so penetratingly. Margaret Somers will respond.