Karl Polanyi and Ordoliberalism

This blog concentrates on the relationship between ordoliberalism and the work of Karl Polanyi, a Jewish Hungarian from Budapest. This is a little researched relationship and much work remains to be done on it. I would particularly recommend the work of Keith Rankin. His website The Rankin File is kept updated year by year, the first being in 2006, with a separate public statistics section going back even further. Keith Rankin works at Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand.

The page on Keith Rankin’s File is now published and will replace this sticky post when I publish a new post.

See also the Wikipedia page on Ordoliberalism:

“Ordoliberal theory holds that the state must create a proper legal environment for the economy and maintain a healthy level of competition (rather than just “exchange”) through measures that adhere to market principles. This is the foundation of its legitimacy. The concern is that, if the state does not take active measures to foster competition, firms with monopoly (or oligopoly) power will emerge, which will not only subvert the advantages offered by the market economy, but also possibly undermine good government, since strong economic power can be transformed into political power”

The importance of Karl Polanyi’s work is that he saw the cyclical nature of free market revanchism, that as in the late 1800s in England and the 1930s in Europe the romantic notion of the free market without state involvement is returned to by politicians. Polanyi died in 1964, well before the emergence of the modern expression of this free market revanchism starting in the 197os first with Reaganomics in the USA and then with Thatcherism in Britain. From there it spread to Europe, country by country.

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