The Great Transformation in Understanding Polanyi: Reply to Hejeebu and McCloskey

Santhi Hejeebu and Deirdre McCloskey's rebuttal to Karl
Polanyi's Great Transformation begs several important questions. Yes, commerce
can be found throughout human history—but is that the same as saying
that people have been equally capitalistic at all times? If not, then how did
modern capitalism come into being? Hejeebu and McCloskey portray capitalism
as having evolved gradually, indeed quite naturally, rather than being a
contingent product of politics. Not inconsistently, Hejeebu and McCloskey radically
distinguish between what people "think" and what they "do"—that is,
between their ideas and their actions. This distinction, too, suggests that human
action is ahistorically capitalistic—whatever human agents at different times
and places might think.

Mark Blyth
Publisher: Routledge
Published in: Critical Review
2004 16 Pages 117-134