The Methodology of Polanyi's Great Transformation

Asad Zaman

Pakistan Institute of Development Economics

June 15, 2014

Polanyi’s book on The Great Transformation provides an analysis of the emergence and significance of capitalist economic structures which differs radically from those currently universally taught in economic textbooks. This analysis is based on a methodological approach which is also radically different from existing methodologies for doing economics, and more generally social science. This methodology is used by Polanyi without explicit articulation. Our goal in this article is to articulate the methodology used in this book to bring out the several dimensions on which it differs from current approaches to social science. Among the key differences, Polanyi provides substantial scope for human agency and capabilities to change the course of history. He also shows that the social, political and economic spheres of human existence are deeply interlinked and cannot be analyzed in isolation, as current approaches assume.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 20

Keywords: Methodology, Social Science, Capitalism, Liberalism

JEL Classification: B31, B41

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Date posted: June 22, 2014  

Suggested Citation

Zaman, Asad, The Methodology of Polanyi's Great Transformation (June 15, 2014). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2457299 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2457299

Contact Information

Asad Zaman (Contact Author)
Pakistan Institute of Development Economics ( email )
Quaid-i-Azam University Campus
P.O.Box 1091
Islamabad, Federal Capital 44000
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