Polanyi’s core thesis is that there is no such thing as a free market; there never has been, nor can there ever be. Indeed he calls the very idea of an economy independent of government and political institutions a “stark utopia”—utopian because it is unrealizable, and the effort to bring it into being is doomed to fail and will inevitably produce dystopian consequences. While markets are necessary for any functioning economy, Polanyi argues that the attempt to create a market society is fundamentally threatening to human society and the common good. In the first instance the market is simply one of many different social institutions; the second represents the effort to subject not just real commodities (computers and widgets) to market principles but virtually all of what makes social life possible, including clean air and water, education, health care, personal, legal, and social security, and the right to earn a livelihood. When these public goods and social necessities (what Polanyi calls “fictitious commodities”) are treated as if they are commodities produced for sale on the market, rather than protected rights, our social world is endangered and major crises will ensue.The free market is an impossible utopia (via azspot)
Large corporate capitalism is a breed apart from smaller scale capitalism. The former can often avoid marketplace verdicts through corporate welfare, strip owner-shareholders of power over the top company bosses and offload the cost of their pollution, tax escapes and other “externalities” onto the backs of innocent people. Always evolving to evade the theoretically touted disciplines of market competition, efficiency and productivity, corporate capitalism has been an innovative machine for oppression.The Myths of Big Corporate Capitalism (via azspot)
Capitalism loves science when it’s used to develop new technologies or new means of extracting resources.
Capitalism is indifferent to science when it works on things which can’t be directly commercialized.
Capitalism really hates science when it investigates environmental degradation, or when it points out that the economy is running headlong into a brick wall of resource limitation.
A company is now marketing bulletproof blankets to school children to protect themselves from crazed gunmen. But at the end of the day, there’s a deeper reason gun control doesn’t matter at all. And this reason is almost never talked about.
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