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Capitalism: a six-part series
Episode 6: Karl Polanyi, The Human Factor
By Ilan Ziv
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"The economy is important but it cannot override and colonize, if you wish, all other aspects of our social life and our society."Economist Kari Polanyi Levitt

Karl Polanyi's life's work was to reintegrate society and economy - with the latter serving the former.

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Taking us on a journey from ancient Sumeria to the towers of Frankfurt, this episode of CAPITALISM argues that commercial transactions have always been embedded in social norms, and that a self-regulating market economy is in no way a natural state of human affairs. The thought of political economist Karl Polanyi, author of The Great Transformation, is central to this exploration.

Polanyi said that industrialization and the first wave of globalized economy had led to labor, money and nature being treated like commodities, with potentially disastrous results - the kind being played out on the streets of Athens, where unemployment is over 20%, neo-fascism is on the rise, and rioters face down police over harsh austerity measures that benefit foreign bankers.

Debt levels around the world are rising, and the webs of who owns whose debt are becoming ever more complex. Could the commodification of money ultimately be as disastrous - both for individuals and businesses - as floods, drought and earthquakes?

Featuring economist Kari Polanyi Levitt, political economist Abraham Rotstein, former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer, and former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, among others. View the complete list of storytellers.

  

53 minutes / color
Closed Captioned
Release: 2015
Copyright: 2014
Sale: $498

The CAPITALISM series consists of six (6) episodes on three (3) DVDs that are packaged and sold together as one unit.

Subject areas:
Business, Business Ethics, Business and Economics, Economics, Economic Sociology, Europe (West), Globalization, Historiography, History (World), Labor Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, Political Theory, Politics, Sociology

Related Links:
The Storytellers of Capitalism
The Films of Ilan Ziv


Capitalism / Episode 6 / Clip

Related Titles:
Capitalism: An ambitious but accessible six-part series that looks at both the history of ideas and the social forces that have shaped the capitalist world.

Episode 1: Capitalism is much more complex than the vision Adam Smith laid out in The Wealth of Nations. Indeed, it predates Smith by centuries and is rooted in practices of colonialism and the slave trade.

Episode 2: Adam Smith was both economist and moral philosopher. But his work on morality is largely forgotten, leading to tragic distortions that have shaped our global economic system.

Episode 3: The roots of today's global trade agreements lie in the work of stockbroker David Ricardo and demographer Thomas Malthus. Together, they would restructure society in the image of the market.

Episode 4: Have we gotten Marx wrong by focusing on the Communist Manifesto instead of on his critique of how capitalism works - a critique that is relevant and as penetrating as ever?

Episode 5: The ideological divide between the philosophies of John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich Hayek has dominated economics for nearly a century. Is it time for the pendulum to swing back to Keynes? Or do we need a whole new approach that goes beyond this dualism?

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Last Updated September 25, 2015
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