The Great Recurrence: Karl Polanyi and the Crises of the European Union

18 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2017

See all articles by Matthias Goldmann

Matthias Goldmann

Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law; Goethe University Frankfurt - Research Center SAFE; Goethe University Frankfurt - Cluster of Excellence Normative Orders; Goethe University Frankfurt

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Date Written: July 2017

Abstract

In his seminal 1944 book, Polanyi describes the rise and fall of liberal capitalism during the long nineteenth century. Many have realised that Polanyi has a lot to tell about the European Union in the aftermath of the financial crisis. The paper begins with an overview of Polanyi's historiography of the failure of nineteenth‐century liberal capitalism and his account of the four elements that helped liberal capitalism thrive, while precipitating its collapse—the idea of the self‐regulating market, the gold standard, international peace and liberal constitutionalism. Thereafter, the paper describes the particular transformations that these four elements underwent in the course of European integration and after the financial crisis, with a particular focus on the case law of the Court of Justice. The paper argues that their current constellation has a destructive potential that exceeds the economic dimension of the Union and might pave the way for a much greater failure, one that might defeat Europe's greatest success: the establishment of peace. Ultimately, the paper assesses current reform proposals in light of these insights and makes a number of proposals for re‐embedding the economy in society.

Suggested Citation

Goldmann, Matthias, The Great Recurrence: Karl Polanyi and the Crises of the European Union (July 2017). European Law Journal, Vol. 23, Issue 3-4, pp. 272-289, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3062271 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/eulj.12241

Matthias Goldmann (Contact Author)

Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law ( email )

Im Neuenheimer Feld 535
69120 Heidelberg, 69120
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.mpil.de/ww/en/pub/organization/scientific_staff/mgoldman.cfm

Goethe University Frankfurt - Research Center SAFE

House of Finance
Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 3
Frankfurt am Main, 60323
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.safe-frankfurt.de

Goethe University Frankfurt - Cluster of Excellence Normative Orders ( email )

Germany

Goethe University Frankfurt ( email )

Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 3
HoF H4
Frankfurt, 60629
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.jura.uni-frankfurt.de/62222403/Goldmann

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