“What is socialism?” Continue reading
In an unpublished article circa 1934 entitled “The Fascist Virus”[i] Karl Polanyi sketches a theory of fascism that remains relevant. This theory is further elaborated in an article entitled “The Essence of Fascism”[ii] and in The Great Transformation (1944). In light of current politico-economic trends, this theory is worth revisiting. Continue reading
In responding to the threat of today’s fascist tendency, an effective strategy depends upon a robust diagnosis. It is clear that right-wing populists, the harbingers of this tendency, are channeling the resentment and rage of substantial segments of national populations. But where precisely does the anger come from? Continue reading
Tolstoy observed that there are only two essential questions: how shall we live, and what should be done? A vision effectively answers these two questions.
But the left’s vision is no longer as compelling as it once was. The failures of socialist and social-democratic movements in the 20th century and new challenges in the 21st century demand a rethinking. The absence of a compelling and viable worldview has allowed far-right, populist movements to step into the breach and make headway everywhere.
A recent Marxist critique of Karl Polanyi’s theoretical approach concludes that there is nothing wrong with the latter that cannot be remedied by a major infusion of key Marxist concepts. Benjamin Selwyn and Satoshi Miyamura in their 2014 New Political Economy article display an impressive grasp of Polanyian as well as Marxist categories. Yet, in their critique, they never consider why Polanyi, who was both knowledgeable of, and sympathetic to, Marxism in his early and middle years, eventually broke with Marxism to forge his own analytical path. Might he not have had good reasons for doing so? Continue reading
In addition to reading Karl Polanyi for his appealing normative stance and transdisciplinary approach, I am drawn to four other attractive features. Continue reading
During the past several years, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on the unpalatable dilemmas that confront the Left, both socialists and social democrats. What is the way out, for those concerned to build equal freedom and a more democratic society? Continue reading