[Dit klassieke boek van de oorspronkelijk Hongaarse filosofisch econoom Karl Polanyi (1886-1964) werd geschreven in 1944 - dus net voordat mondiale economische organisaties als het IMF ontstonden. Het stelt thema's aan de orde die nog steeds onderdeel uitmaken van de discussies die we vandaag de dag voeren over samenleving en economie en dan met name over neoliberale opvattingen (Von Mises, Hayek, Friedman etc.) met betrekking tot de zichzelf regulerende markt en de globalisering van de economie. Polanyi laat zien dat het idee van een zichzelf regulerende markt een slecht doordachte utopie is met desastreuze gevolgen voor de armen. Hij laat ook zien dat liberalen altijd de mond vol hebben van de vrije markt wanneer het hen goed uit komt, maar in allerlei andere omstandigheden uit eigenbelang schreeuwen om staatssteun. Zoals we met de crisis van 2008 en het redden van banken door de overheid opnieuw konden vaststellen. De inleiding van Block is overigens ook geweldig.]
Stiglitz vat de kern van het boek als volgt samen:
"Among his central theses are the ideas that self-regulating markets never work; their deficiencies, not only in their internal workings but also in their consequences (e.g., for the poor), are so great that government intervention becomes necessary; and that the pace of change is of central importance in determining these consequences. Polanyi's analysis makes it clear that popular doctrines of trickle-down economics - that all, including the poor, benefit from growth - have little historical support. He also clarifies the interplay between ideologies and particular interests: how free market ideology was the handmaiden for new industrial interests, and how those interests used that ideology selectively, calling upon government intervention when needed to pursue their own interests."(vii-viii)
Vanuit de deskundigheid die hij zelf heeft en de boeken die hij schreef over globalisering, de Washington consensus, de IMF, en dergelijke trekt hij de kritiek door naar de situatie rond 2000. Polanyi's opvattingen blijken nog steeds toepasbaar en leerzaam, vindt hij.
"The IMF's inconsistencies - while professing belief in the free market system, it is a public organization that regularly intervenes in exchange rate markets, providing funds to bail out foreign creditors while pushing for usurious interest rates that bankrupt domestic firms - were foreshadowed in the ideological debates of the nineteenth century. Truly free markets for labor or goods have never existed. The irony is that today few even advocate the free flow of labor, and while the advanced industrial countries lecture the less developed countries on the vices of protectionism and government subsidies, they have been more adamant in opening up markets in developing countries than in opening their own markets to the goods and services that represent the developing world's comparative advantage."(ix)
"But even before these most recent episodes there was ample evidence that such liberalization could impose enormous risks on a country, and that those risks were borne disproportionately by the poor, while the evidence that such liberalization promoted growth was scanty at best."(x)
"For capitalists who thrive off of low wages, the high unemployment may even be a benefit, as it puts downward pressure on workers' wage demands. But for economists, the unemployed workers demonstrate a malfunctioning economy, and in all too many countries we see overwhelming evidence of this and other malfunctions. Some advocates of the self-regulating economy put part of the blame for these malfunctions on government itself; but whether this is true or not, the point is that the myth of the self-regulating economy is, today, virtually dead."(x)
"Economic science and economic history have come to recognize the validity of Polanyi's key contentions. But public policy - particularly as reflected in the Washington consensus doctrines concerning how the developing world and the economies in transition should make their great transformations - seems all too often not to have done so. "(xiii)
"The advocates of the neoliberal Washington consensus emphasize that it is government interventions that are the source of the problem; the key to transformation is 'getting prices right' and getting the government out of the economy through privatization and liberalization. In this view, development is little more than the accumulation of capital and improvements in the efficiency with which resources are allocated - purely technical matters. This ideology misunderstands the nature of the transformation itself - a transformation of society, not just of the economy, and a transformation of the economy that is far more profound that their simple prescriptions would suggest. Their perspective represents a misreading of history, as Polanyi effectively argues."(xiv)
"Polanyi talked about more basic values. The disjunction between these more basic values and the ideology of the self-regulated market is as clear today as it was at the time he wrote. "(xvi)
"The Great Transformation provides the most powerful critique yet produced of market liberalism - the belief that both national societies and the global economy can and should be organized through self-regulating markets. Since the 1980s, and particularly with the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, this doctrine of market liberalism - under the labels of Thatcherism, Reaganism, neoliberalism, and 'the Washington Consensus' - has come to dominate global politics. But shortly after the work was first published in 1944, the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union intensified, obscuring the importance of Polanyi's contribution. In the highly polarized debates between the defenders of capitalism and the defenders of Soviet-style socialism, there was little room for Polanyi's nuanced and complex arguments. Hence there is a certain justice that with the ending of the Cold War era, Polanyi's work is beginning to gain the visibility it deserves.
The core debate of this post-Cold War period has been over globalization. Neoliberals have insisted that the new technologies of communications and transportation make it both inevitable and desirable that the world economy be tightly integrated through expanded trade and capital flows and the acceptance of the Anglo-American model of free market capitalism. A variety of movements and theorists around the world have attacked this vision of globalization from different political perspectives-some resisting on the basis of ethnic, religious, national, or regional identities; others upholding alternative visions of global coordination and cooperation. Those on all sides of the debate have much to learn from reading The Great Transformation; both neoliberals and their critics will obtain a deeper grasp of the history of market liberalism and an understanding of the tragic consequences of earlier projects of economic globalization."(xviii-xix)
Volgt een beschrijving van Polanyi's leven en van zijn werk. Vervolgens wordt dit boek doorgelopen.
"The Great Transformation is organized into three parts. Parts One and Three focus on the immediate circumstances that produced the First World War, the Great Depression, the rise of fascism in Continental Europe, the New Deal in the United States, and the first five year plan in the Soviet Union. In these introductory and concluding chapters, Polanyi sets up a puzzle: Why did a prolonged period of rela tive peace and prosperity in Europe, lasting from 1815 to 1914, suddenly give way to a world war followed by an economic collapse? Part Two - the core of the book - provides Polanyi's solution to the puzzle. Going back to the English Industrial Revolution, in the first years of the nineteenth century, Polanyi shows how English thinkers responded to the disruptions of early industrialization by developing the theory of market liberalism, with its core belief that human society should be subordinated to self-regulating markets.(...)
Polanyi traces the collapse of peace that led to World War I and shows the collapse of economic order that led to the Great Depression to be the direct consequence of attempting to organize the global economy on the basis of market liberalism. The second 'great transformation' - the rise of fascism - is a result of the first one - the rise of market liberalism."(xxii)
"Polanyi does not fit easily into standard mappings of the political landscape; although he agreed with much of Keynes's critique of market liberalism, he was hardly a Keynesian. He identified throughout his life as a socialist, but he had profound differences with economic determinism of all varieties, including mainstream Marxism. His very definition of capitalism and socialism diverges from customary understandings of those concepts."(xxiii)
Belangrijk is dat Polanyi de economie niet als autonoom ziet - de samenleving moet zich onderwerpen aan de logica van de markt; een opvatting die al door klassieke economen als Malthus en Ricardo werd neergezet in de 19e eeuw - maar als ingebed in polititieke, religieuze en sociale verhoudingen.
"In fact, Polanyi repeatedly says that the goal of a disembedded, fully self-regulating market economy is a utopian project; it is something that cannot exist."(xxiv)
"Polanyi argues that creating a fully self-regulating market economy requires that human beings and the natural environment be turned into pure commodities, which assures the destruction of both society and the natural environment. In his view the theorists of self regulating markets and their allies are constantly pushing human societies to the edge of a precipice. But as the consequences of unrestrained markets become apparent, people resist; they refuse to act like lemmings marching over a cliff to their own destruction. Instead, they retreat from the tenets of market self-regulation to save society and nature from destruction."(xxv)
"It means that economic theorizing is based on a lie, and this lie places human society at risk."(xxv)
"There are two levels to Polanyi's argument. The first is a moral argument that it is simply wrong to treat nature and human beings as objects whose price will be determined entirely by the market. Such a concept violates the principles that have governed societies for centuries: nature and human life have almost always been recognized as having a sacred dimension. It is impossible to reconcile this sacred dimension with the subordination of labor and nature to the market. In his objection to the treatment of nature as a commodity, Polanyi anticipates many of the arguments of contemporary environmentalists.
The second level of Polanyi's argument centers o n the state's role in the economy. Even though the economy is supposed to be self-regulating, the state must play the ongoing role of adjusting the supply of money and credit to avoid the twin dangers of inflation and deflation. Similarly, the state has to manage shifting demand for employees by providing relief in periods of unemployment, by educating and training future workers, and by seeking to influence migration flows. In the case of land, governments have sought to maintain continuity in food production by a variety of devices that insulate farmers from the pressures of fluctuating harvests and volatile prices. In urban areas governments manage the use of the existing land through both environmental and land-use regulations . In short, the role of managing fictitious commodities places the state inside three of the most important markets; it becomes utterly impossible to sustain market liberalism's view that the state is 'outside' of the economy."(xxvi)
"This is part of what Polanyi means by his claim that "laissez-faire was planned"; it requires statecraft and repression to impose the logic of the market and its attendant risks on ordinary people."(xxvii)
Het marktliberale denken is ook nog eens immuun voor kritiek - wanneer zaken mislukken kunnen neoliberalen altijd de overheid verwijten te vroeg te hebben ingegrepen of iets dergelijks (gebleken bij allerlei 'shock therapy experiments' zoals in de vroegere Sowjet-Unie.
"The gold standard was intended to create an integrated global marketplace that reduced the role of national units and national governments, but its consequences were exactly the opposite. Polanyi shows that when it was widely adopted in the 1870s, it had the ironic effect of intensifying the importance of the nation as a unified entity. Although market liberals dreamed of a pacified world in which the only international struggles would be those of individuals and firms to outperform their competitors, their efforts to realize these dreams through the gold standard produced two horrific world wars."(xxxi)
"Polanyi's arguments are so important for contemporary debates about globalization because neoliberals embrace the same utopian vision that inspired the gold standard. Since the end of the Cold War, they have insisted that the integration of the global economy is making national boundaries obsolete and is laying the basis for a new era of global peace. Once nations recognize the logic of the global market place and open their economies to free movement of goods and capital, international conflict will be replaced by benign competition to produce ever more exciting goods and services. As did their predecessors, neoliberals insist that all nations have to do is trust in the effectiveness of self-regulating markets."(xxxiii)
"Polanyi's analysis of the three fictitious commodities teaches that this neoliberal vision of automatic market adjustment at the global level is a dangerous fantasy. Just as national economies depend on an active governmental role, so too does the global economy need strong regulatory institutions, including a lender of last resort. Without such institutions particular economies - and perhaps the entire global economy - will suffer crippling economic crises.
But the more fundamental point learned from Polanyi is that market liberalism makes demands on ordinary people that are simply not sustainable. Workers, farmers, and small business people will not tolerate for any length of time a pattern of economic organization in which they are subject to periodic dramatic fluctuations in their daily economic circumstances. In short, the neoliberal utopia of a borderless and peaceful globe requires that millions of ordinary people throughout the world have the flexibility to tolerate - perhaps as often as every five or ten years - a prolonged spell in which they must survive on half or less of what they previously earned. Polanyi believes that to expect that kind of flexibility is both morally wrong and deeply unrealistic. To him it is inevitable that people will mobilize to protect themselves from these economic shocks."(xxxiv)
"For Polanyi the deepest flaw in market liberalism is that it subordinates human purposes to the logic of an impersonal market mechanism. He argues instead that human beings should use the instruments of democratic governance to control and direct the economy to meet our individual and collective needs. Polanyi shows that the failure to take up this challenge produced enormous suffering in the past century. His prophecy for the new century could not be clearer."(xxxviii)
Polanyi valt meteen met de deur in huis:
[Waarbij het belangrijk is te bedenken dat hij dit boek schrijft tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog en een jaar of vijfentwintig na de Eerste Wereldoorlog. Zoals zo veel denkers in die tijd vroeg hij zich af waardoor al die ellende veroorzaakt werd. Hij vond het antwoord in de teloorgang van de vier instituties die hij hieronder samenvat, waarbij de utopie van een vrije markt de belangrijkste rol speelt..]
"Nineteenth-century civilization rested on four institutions. The first was the balance-of-power system which for a century prevented the occurrence of any long and devastating war between the Great Powers [P. heeft het over de periode 1815 - 1914, die wat dat betreft - relatief - rustig was - GdG]. The second was the international gold standard which symbolized a unique organization of world economy. The third was the self-regulating market which produced an unheard-of material welfare. The fourth was the liberal state. Classified in one way, two of these institutions were economic, two political . Classified in another way, two of them were national, two international. Between them they determined the characteristic outlines of the history of our civilization.
Of these institutions the gold standard proved crucial; its fall was the proximate cause of the catastrophe. By the time it failed, most of the other institutions had been sacrificed in a vain effort to save it. But the fount and matrix of the system was the self-regulating market. It was this innovation which gave rise to a specific civilization. The gold standard was merely an attempt to extend the domestic market system to the international field; the balance-of-power system was a superstructure erected upon and, partly, worked through the gold standard; the liberal state was itself a creation of the self-regulating market. The key to the institutional system of the nineteenth century lay in the laws governing market economy.
Our thesis is that the idea of a self-adjusting market implied a stark utopia. Such an institution could not exist for any length of time without annihilating the human and natural substance of society; it would have physically destroyed man and transformed his surroundings into a wilderness. Inevitably, society took measures to protect itself: but whatever measures it took impaired the self-regulation of the market, disorganized industrial life, and thus endangered society in yet another way. It was this dilemma which forced the development of the market system into a definite groove and finally disrupted the social organization based upon it. "(3-4)
"Haute finance, an institution sui generis, peculiar to the last third of the nineteenth and the first third of the twentieth century, functioned as the main link between the political and the economic organization of the world. It supplied the instruments for an international peace system, which was worked with the help of the Powers, but which the Powers themselves could neither have established nor maintained. While the Concert of Europe acted only at intervals, haute finance functioned as a permanent agency of the most elastic kind. Independent of single governments, even of the most powerful, it was in touch with all; independent of the central banks, even of the Bank of England, it was closely connected with them. There was intimate contact between finance and diplomacy; neither would consider any long-range plan, whether peaceful or warlike, without making sure of the other's goodwill. Yet the secret of the successful maintenance of general peace lay undoubtedly in the position, organization, and techniques of international finance."(10)
Dat financiële systeem was principieel internationaal en strikt gefundeerd op commerciële belangen. Een algemene vrede was in het belang van dat systeem, ook al was het wel betrokken bij allerlei lokale oorlogen, zo lang het totale financiële systeem maar niet verstoord werd, de handel door kon gaan, en de investeringen niet verloren gingen. De invloed van de politiek op haar functioneren en succes was groot. Bankiers moesten dus uiterst voorzichtig manoevreren en manipuleren.
"The chief danger, however, which stalked the capitalists of Europe was not technological or financial failure, but war - not a war between small countries (which could be easily isolated) nor war upon a small country by a Great Power (a frequent and often convenient occurrence), but a general war between the Great Powers themselves."(15)
"We have become too much accustomed to think of the spread of capitalism as a process which is anything but peaceful, and of finance capital as the chief instigator of innumerable colonial crimes and expansion ist aggressions. Its intimate affiliation with heavy industries made Lenin assert that finance capital was responsible for imperialism, notably for the struggle for spheres of influence, concessions, extraterritorial rights, and the innumerable forms in which the Western Powers got a stranglehold on backward regions, in order to invest in railways, public utilities, ports, and other permanent establishments on which their heavy industries made profits. Actually, business and finance were responsible for many colonial wars, but also for the fact that a general conflagration was avoided. (...) Every war, almost, was organized by financiers; but peace also was organized by them."(16)
"In respect to the status of enemy aliens, the service of loans held by enemy citizens, enemy property, or the right of enemy merchantmen to leave port, the nineteenth century showed a decisive turn in favor of measures to safeguard the economic system in wartime. Only the twentieth century reversed this trend."(17)
Het begin van de 20ste eeuw zag de machtsbalans verstoord raken (van drie naar twee allianties), de globale economische competitie nam toe en de 'haute finance' was niet meer in staat de oorlog tegen te gaan. Daarmee kwam er een einde aan die 100-jarige periode van (relatieve) vrede.
"The breakdown of the international gold standard was the invisible link between the disintegration of world economy which started at the turn of the century and the transformation of a whole civilization in the thirties. Unless the vital importance of this factor is realized, it is not possible to see rightly either the mechanism which railroaded Europe to its doom, or the circumstances which accounted for the astounding fact that the forms and contents of a civilization should rest on so precarious foundations.(...)
To liberal economists the gold standard was a purely economic institution; they refused even to consider it as a part of a social mechanism. Thus it happened that the democratic countries were the last to realize the true nature of the catastrophe and the slowest to counter its effects. Not even when the cataclysm was already upon them did their leaders see that behind the collapse of the international system there stood a long development within the most advanced countries which made that system anachronistic; in other words, the failure of market economy itself still escaped them. "(21)
"In the early thirties, change set in with abruptness. Its landmarks were the abandonment of the gold standard by Great Britain; the Five Year Plans in Russia; the launching of the New Deal; the National Socialist Revolution in Germany; the collapse of the League in favor of autarchist empires. While at the end of the Great War nineteenth century ideals were paramount, and their influence dominated the following decade, by 1940 every vestige of the international system had disappeared and, apart from a few enclaves, the nations were living in an entirely new international setting."(24)
"Indeed, the essentiality of the gold standard to the functioning of the international economic system of the time was the one and only tenet common to men of all nations and all classes, religious denominations, and social philosophies. It was the invisible reality to which the will to live could cling, when mankind braced itself to the task of restoring its crumbling existence."(26-27)
"This leads up to our thesis which still remains to be proven: that the origins of the cataclysm lay in the utopian endeavor of economic liberalism to set up a self-regulating market system. Such a thesis seems to invest that system with almost mythical faculties; it implies no less than that the balance of power, the gold standard, and the liberal state, these fundamentals of the civilization of the nineteenth century, were, in the last resort, shaped in one common matrix, the self-regulating market."(31)
Hier gaat het over de Industriële Revolutie in de 19e eeuw in Engeland. Polanyi wil nagaan welke factoren maakten dat het leven van de gewone mensen zo catastrofaal door elkaar geschud werd.
"Nowhere has liberal philosophy failed so conspicuously as in its understanding of the problem of change. Fired by an emotional faith in spontaneity, the common-sense attitude toward change was discarded in favor of a mystical readiness to accept the social consequences of economic improvement, whatever they might be. The elementary truths of political science and statecraft were first discredited then forgotten. It should need no elaboration that a process of undirected change, the pace of which is deemed too fast, should be slowed down, if possible, so as to safeguard the welfare of the community. Such household truths of traditional statesmanship, often merely reflecting the teachings of a social philosophy inherited from the ancients, were in the nineteenth century erased from the thoughts of the educated by the corrosive of a crude utilitarianism combined with an uncritical reliance on the alleged self-healing virtues of unconscious growth."(35)
[Precies en laten we benadrukken dat dat gebeurde bij een bepaalde laag of klasse in de samenleving die er alle belang bij had om het gezonde verstand en de matiging te laten varen: de mensen met bezittingen, met rijkdom, met kapitaal, met politieke macht. ]
Een illustratie van hoe eenzijdig en verkeerd economisch liberalen de geschiedenis van de Industriële Revolutie lezen wordt gevormd door de kwesytie van de 'enclosures'.
"For an illustration of this we shall turn to what may at first seem a remote subject: to enclosures of open fields and conversions of arable land to pasture during the earlier Tudor period in England, when fields and commons were hedged by the lords, and whole counties were threatened by depopulation. Our purpose in thus evoking the plight of the people brought about by enclosures and conversions will be on the one hand to demonstrate the parallel between the devastations caused by the ultimately beneficial enclosures and those resulting from the Industrial Revolution, and on the other hand - and more broadly - to clarify the alternatives facing a community which is in the throes of unregulated economic improvement."(36)
Het onheinen op zich had nog een verbetering kunnen zijn wanneer men het land niet omgevormd had van landbouwgrond naar grasland. En zelfs de schapenteelt / wolindustrie had nog niet zo erg hoeven uit te vallen gezien het alomaanwezige thuiswerk. De sociale dislocatie die met de 'enclosures' samen ging leidde echter tot de catastrofale gevolgen voor de bevolking.
"Enclosures have appropriately been called a revolution of the rich against the poor. The lords and nobles were upsetting the social order, breaking down ancient law and custom, sometimes by means of violence, often by pressure and intimidation. They were literally robbing the poor of their share in the common, tearing down the houses which, by the hitherto unbreakable force of custom, the poor had long regarded as theirs and their heirs'. The fabric of society was being disrupted; desolate villages and the ruins of human dwellings testified to the fierceness with which the revolution raged, endangering the defences of the country, wasting its towns, decimating its population, turning its overburdened soil into dust, harassing its people and turning them from decent husbandmen into a mob of beggars and thieves. Though this happened only in patches, the black spots threatened to melt into a uniform catastrophe."(37)
"In effect, anti-enclosure legislation never seemed to have stopped the course of the enclosure movement, nor even to have obstructed it seriously. "(38)
"A belief in spontaneous progress must make us blind to the role of government in economic life. This role consists often in altering the rate of change, speeding it up or slowing it down as the case may be; if we believe that rate to be unalterable - or even worse, if we deem it a sacrilege to interfere with it -then, of course, no room is left for intervention. Enclosures offer an example."(39)
"Writers of all views and parties, conservatives and liberals, capitalists and socialists, invariably referred to social conditions under the Industrial Revolution as a veritable abyss of human degradation."(41)
Allerilei verklaringen zijn daarvoor gegeven. Maar Polanyi wil hier benadsrukken dat één ding de hoofdrol speelde: de vestiging van het idee van een zelfregulerene markteconomie in samenhang met de ontwikkeling van bepaalde technologie die zo duur was dat zij massaproductie noodzakelijk maakte.
"Let us make our meaning more precise. No society could, naturally, live for any length of time unless it possessed an economy of some sort; but previously to our time no economy has ever existed that, even in principle, was controlled by markets. In spite of the chorus of academic incantations so persistent in the nineteenth century, gain and profit made on exchange never before played an important part in human economy. Though the institution of the market was fairly common since the later Stone Age, its role was no more than incidental to economic life."(45)
Adam Smith had dus ongelijk. En na hem geldt hetzelfde voor Herbert Spencer, Ludwig von Mises, Walter Lippmann, en vele anderen. Hun opvattingen zijn onwetenschappelijk en zitten vol met subjectieve vooroordelen over mensen.
"While history and ethnography know of various kinds of economies, most of them comprising the institution of markets, they know of no economy prior to our own, even approximately controlled and regulated by markets."(46)
"The outstanding discovery of recent historical and anthropological research is that man's economy, as a rule, is submerged in his social relationships. He does not act so as to safeguard his individual interest in the possession of material goods; he acts so as to safeguard his social standing, his social claims, his social assets. He values material goods only in so far as they serve this end. Neither the process of production nor that of distribution is linked to specific economic interests attached to the possession of goods; but every single step in that process is geared to a number of social interests which eventually ensure that the required step be taken. These interests will be very different in a small hunting or fishing community from those in a vast despotic society, but in either case the economic system will be run on noneconomic motives."(48)
"For it is on this one negative point that modern ethnographers agree: the absence of the motive of gain; the absence of the principle of laboring for remuneration; the absence of the principle of least effort; and, especially, the absence of any separate and distinct institution based on economic motives."(49)
"In such a community the idea of profit is barred; higgling and haggling is decried; giving freely is acclaimed as a virtue; the supposed propensity to barter, truck, and exchange does not appear. The economic system is, in effect, a mere function of social organization."(52)
Het is een economie van wederzijdse giften, distributie, en productie voor eigen gebruik.
"In denouncing the principle of production for gain as boundless and limitless, 'as not natural to man'; Aristotle was, in effect, aiming at the crucial point, namely, the divorce of the economic motive from all concrete social relationships which would by their very nature set a limit to that motive."(57)
"Broadly, the proposition holds that all economic systems known to us up to the end of feudalism in Western Europe were organized either on the principle of reciprocity or redistribution, or house holding, or some combination of the three. These principles were in stitutionalized with the help of a social organization which, inter alia, made use of the patterns of symmetry, centricity, and autarchy. In this framework, the orderly production and distribution of goods was secured through a great variety of individual motives disciplined by general principles of behavior. Among these motives gain was not prominent. Custom and law, magic and religion cooperated in inducing the individual to comply with rules of behavior which, eventually, ensured his functioning in the economic system."(57)
[Maar natuurlijk bestond er wel een verschil tussen rijk en arm in de grotere culturen: bepaalde groepen eigenden zich meer toe dan ze verdienden. Is er een geschiedenis van de rijk-arm-verhoudingen of van de klasseverhoudingen op basis van bezit?]
"From the sixteenth century onward markets were both numerous and important. Under the mercantile system they became, in effect, a main concern of government; yet there was still no sign of the coming control of markets over human society. On the contrary. Regulation and regimentation were stricter than ever; the very idea of a self-regulating market was absent. To comprehend the sudden changeover to an utterly new type of economy in the nineteenth century, we must now turn to the history of the market, an institution we were able practically to neglect in our review of the economic systems of the past."(57-58)
"The market pattern, on the other hand, being related to a peculiar motive of its own, the motive of truck or barter, is capable of creating a specific institution, namely, the market. Ultimately, that is why the control of the economic system by the market is of overwhelming consequence to the whole organization of society: it means no less than the running of society as an adjunct to the market. Instead of economy being embedded in social relations, social relations are embedded in the economic system. The vital importance of the economic factor to the existence of society precludes any other result. For once the economic system is organized in separate institutions, based on specific motives and conferring a special status, society must be shaped in such a manner as to allow that system to function according to its own laws. This is the meaning of the familiar assertion that a market economy can function only in a market society.
The step which makes isolated markets into a market economy, regulated markets into a self-regulating market, is indeed crucial. The nineteenth century - whether hailing the fact as the apex of civilization or deploring it as a cancerous growth - naïvely imagined that such a development was the natural outcome of the spreading of markets. It was not realized that the gearing of markets into a self-regulating system of tremendous power was not the result of any inherent tendency of markets toward excrescence, but rather the effect of highly artificial stimulants administered to the body social in order to meet a situation which was created by the no less artificial phenomenon of the machine. The limited and unexpanding nature of the market pattern, as such, was not recognized; and yet it is this fact which emerges with convincing clarity from modern research. "(60)
"Regulation and markets, in effect, grew up together. The self-regulating market was unknown; indeed the emergence of the idea of self-regulation was a complete reversal of the trend of development. It is in the light of these facts that the extraordinary assumptions underlying a market economy can alone be fully comprehended.
A market economy is an economic system controlled, regulated, and directed by market prices; order in the production and distribution of goods is entrusted to this self-regulating mechanism. An economy of this kind derives from the expectation that human beings behave in such a way as to achieve maximum money gains. It assumes markets in which the supply of goods (including services) available at a definite price will equal the demand at that price. It assumes the presence of money, which functions as purchasing power in the hands of its owners. Production will then be controlled by prices, for the profits of those who direct production will depend upon them; the distribution of the goods also will depend upon prices, for prices form incomes, and it is with the help of these incomes that the goods produced are distributed amongst the members of society. assumptions order in the production and distribution of goods is ensured by prices alone.
Self-regulation implies that all production is for sale on the market and that all incomes derive from such sales. Accordingly, there are markets for all elements of industry, not only for goods (always including services) but also for labor, land, and money, their prices being called respectively commodity prices, wages, rent, and interest. The very terms indicate that prices form incomes: interest is the price for the use of money and forms the income of those who are in the position to provide it; rent is the price for the use of land and forms the income of those who supply it; wages are the price for the use of labor power and form the income of those who sell it; commodity prices, finally, contribute to the incomes of those who sell their entrepreneurial services, the income called profit being actually the difference between two sets of prices, the price of the goods produced and their cost, i.e. , the price of the goods necessary to produce them. If these conditions are fulfilled, all incomes derive from sales on the market, and incomes will be just sufficient to buy all the goods produced.
A further group of assumptions follows in respect to the state and its policy. Nothing must be allowed to inhibit the formation of markets, nor must incomes be permitted to be formed otherwise than through sales. Neither must there be any interference with the adjustment of prices to changed market conditions - whether the prices are those of goods, labor, land, or money. Hence there must not only be markets for all elements of industry, but no measure or policy must be countenanced that would influence the action of these markets. Neither price, nor supply, nor demand must be fixed or regulated; only such policies and measures are in order which help to ensure the self-regulation of the market by creating conditions which make the market the only organizing power in the economic sphere. "(71-72)
"But labor, land, and money are obviously not commodities; the postulate that anything that is bought and sold must have been produced for sale is emphatically untrue in regard to them. In other words, according to the empirical definition of a commodity they are not commodities."(75)
"Now, in regard to labor, land, and money such a postulate cannot be upheld. To allow the market mechanism to be sole director of the fate of human beings and their natural environment indeed, even of the amount and use of purchasing power, would result in the demolition of society. For the alleged commodity 'labor power' cannot be shoved about, used indiscriminately, or even left unused, without affecting also the human individual who happens to be the bearer of this peculiar commodity. In disposing of a man's labor power the system would, incidentally, dispose of the physical, psychological, and moral entity 'man' attached to that tag. Robbed of the protective covering of cultural institutions, human beings would perish from the effects of social exposure; they would die as the victims of acute social dislocation through vice, perversion, crime, and starvation. Nature would be reduced to its elements, neighborhoods and landscapes defiled, rivers polluted, military safety jeopardized, the power to produce food and raw materials destroyed. Finally, the market administration of purchasing power would periodically liquidate business enterprise, for shortages and surfeits of money would prove as disastrous to business as floods and droughts in primitive society. Undoubtedly, labor, land, and money markets are essential to a market economy. But no society could stand the effects of such a system of crude fictions even for the shortest stretch of time unless its human and natural substance as well as its business organization was protected against the ravages of this satanic mill."(76-77)
"The Tudors and early Stuarts saved England from the fate of Spain by regulating the course of change so that it became bearable and its effects could be canalized into less destructive avenues. But nothing saved the common people of England from the impact of the Industrial Revolution. A blind faith in spontaneous progress had taken hold of people's minds, and with the fanaticism of sectarians the most enlightened pressed forward for boundless and unregulated change in society. The effects on the lives of the people were awful beyond description. Indeed, human society would have been annihilated but for protective counter-moves which blunted the action of this self-destructive mechanism."(79)
De 'Speenhamland Law' reguleerde in Engeland de arbeidsmarkt in de meest actieve periode van de Industriële Revolutie, die liep van 1795 tot 1834.
"The tendency of this law was to the opposite; namely, toward a powerful reinforcement of the paternalistic system of labor organization as inherited from the Tudors and Stuarts. The justices of Berkshire, meeting at the Pelican Inn, in Speenhamland, near Newbury, on May 6, 1795, in a tirpe of great distress, decided that subsidies in aid of wages should be granted in accordance with a scale dependent upon the price of bread, so that a minimum in come should be assured to the poor irrespective of their earnings."(82)
"... actually it introduced no less a social and economic innovation than the 'right to live': and until abolished in 1834, it effectively prevented the establishment of a competitive labor market. Two years earlier, in 1832, the middle class had forced its way to power, partly in order to remove this obstacle to the new capitalistic economy. Indeed, nothing could be more obvious than that the wage system imperatively demanded the withdrawal of the 'right to live' as proclaimed in Speenhamland - under the new regime of the economic man, nobody would work for a wage if he could make a living by doing nothing (or not much more than nothing)."(82)
"...if the Reform Bill of1832 and the Poor Law Amendment of 1834 were commonly regarded as the starting point of modern capitalism, it was because they put an end to the rule of the benevolent landlord and his allowance system. The attempt to create a capitalistic order without a labor market had failed disastrously."(84)
"Harmony was inherent in economy, it was said, the interests of the individual and the community being ultimately identical - but such harmonious self-regulation required that the individual should respect economic law even if it happened to destroy him. Conflict, also, seemed inherent in economy, whether as competition of individuals or as struggle of classes - but such conflict, again, might turn out to be only the vehicle of a deeper harmony immanent in present, or perhaps future, society."(89)
Meer over de achtergronden van de Speenhamland Law in de arbeidsorganisatie, de Poor Law, en andere regelingen die het mercantilisme van de 16e/17e eeuw als achtergrond hadden. En meer ocver de desastreuze gevolgen van die wet die mensen zo ondersteunde dat ze geen enkele neiging meer hadden om aan het werk te gaan.
"The legal status of the people was therefore that of freedom and equality subject to incisive limitations. They were equal before the law and free as to their persons. But they were not free to choose their occupations or those of their children; they were not free to settle where they pleased; and they were forced to labor. The two great Elizabethan Statutes and the Act of Settlement together were a charter of liberty to the common people as well as a seal of their disabilities."(92)
Hoe ontstonden armoede en het pauperdom?
"It was ... generally agreed among eighteenth-century thinkers that pauperism and progress were inseparable. "(108)
"The Quakers, these pioneers in the exploring of the possibilities of modem existence, were the first to recognize that involuntary unemployment must be the outcome of some defect in the organization of labor."(110)
Ook werd er door arbeiders zelf en hun gemeenschappen al vroeg gezocht naar oplossingen voor mensen die geen werk konden vinden en dus geen inkomen hadden, zoals een soort van uitzendbureaus, bemiddelingsinstanties, etc. Ondersteuning vanuit de Staat was er niet.
"The economic reason why no money could be made out of the paupers should have been no mystery. It was given almost 150 years before by Daniel Defoe, whose pamphlet, published in 1704, stalled the discussion started by Bellers and Locke. Defoe insisted that if the poor were relieved, they would not work for wages; and that if they were put to manufacturing goods in public institutions, they would merely create more unemployment in private manufactures. "(113-114)
Vanaf dat moment bleef de discussie tussen voorstanders en tegenstanders van ondersteuning van de 'armen' bestaan. Bij Adam Smith is er nog sprake van een integratie van het economische in het sociale, tien jaar later al is de economie dominant geworden en krijg je opvattingen als die van Townsend:
"When the significance of poverty was realized, the stage was set for the nineteenth century. The watershed lay somewhere around 1780. In Adam Smith's great work poor relief was no problem as yet; only a decade later it was raised as a broad issue in Townsend's Dissertation on the Poor Laws and never ceased to occupy men's minds for another century and a half."(116)
"[over de hervorming van de Poor Laws schreef Townsend:] "Hunger will tame the fiercest animals, it will teach decency and civility, obedience and subjection, to the most perverse. In general it is only hunger which can spur and goad them [the poor] on to labour; yet our laws have said they shall never hunger. The laws, it must be confessed, have likewise said, they shall be compelled to work. But then legal constraint is attended with much trouble, violence and noise; creates ill will, and never can be productive of good and acceptable service: whereas hunger is not only peaceable, silent, unremitting pressure, but, as the most natural motive to industry and labour, it calls forth the most powerful exertions; and, when satisfied by the free bounty of another, lays lasting and sure foundations for goodwill and gratitude. The slave must be compelled to work but the free man should be left to his own judgment, and discretion; should be protected in the full enjoyment of his own, be it much or little; and punished when he invades his neighbour's property:"
Here was a new starting point for political science. By approaching human community from the animal side, Townsend bypassed the supposedly unavoidable question as to the foundations of government; and in doing so introduced a new concept of law into human affairs, that of the laws of Nature."(118-119)
"Hobbes had argued the need for a despot because men were like beasts; Townsend insisted that they were actually beasts and that, precisely for that reason, only a minimum of government was required. From this novel point of view, a free society could be regarded as consisting of two races: property-owners and laborers. The number of the latter was limited by the amount of food; and as long as property was safe, hunger would drive them to work. No magistrate was necessary, for hunger was a better disciplinarian than the magistrate."(119-120)
[Ik denk niet dat Townsend zich tot de slaven / arbeiders rekende. Dat bezitters / rijken / de bovenlaag zo over het volk / de massa / de arbeiders konden denken en pratgen en schrijven - zoals op zo veel plaatsen het geval is - is nog het meest schokkend van alles. Superioriteitsgevoelens die het zo gemakkelijk maakten om de geminachte groep te vertrappen en uit te buiten.]
"By what law was the laborer ordained to obey a master, to whom he was bound by no legal bond? What force kept the classes of society apart as if they were different kinds of human beings? And what maintained balance and order in this human collective which neither invoked nor even tolerated the intervention of political government?
The paradigm of the goats and the dogs seemed to offer an answer. The biological nature of man appeared as the given foundation of a society that was not of a political order. Thus it came to pass that economists presently relinquished Adam Smith's humanistic foundations, and incorporated those of Townsend. Malthus's population law and the law of diminishing returns as handled by Ricardo made the fertility of man and soil constitutive elements of the new realm the existence of which had been uncovered. Economic society had emerged as distinct from the political state."(120)
Wat werd dus de 'oplossing' voor de armoede en het pauperdom?
"The solution lay in the abolishment of the Elizabethan legislation without replacing it by any other. No assessment of wages, no relief for the able-bodied unemployed, but no minimum wages either, nor a safeguarding of the right to live. Labor should be dealt with as that which it was, a commodity which must find its price in the market. The laws of commerce were the laws of nature and consequently the laws of God. What else was this than an appeal from the weaker magistrate to the stronger, from the justice of the peace to the all-powerful pangs of hunger? To the politician and administrator laissez-faire was simply a principle of the ensurance of law and order, at minimum cost. Let the market be given charge of the poor, and things will look after themselves."(122)
[Uiteraard was dit de ideologie van de bezittende klasse, ik denk niet dat de arbeidersklasse er zo'n oplossing in zag. Naast Townsend zaten Edmund Burke, Jeremy Bentham, Robert Malthus en andere laissez faire - verdedigers op dat spoor.]
"... the facts as they appeared to contemporaries were roughly these: in times past the laboring people had habitually lived on the brink of indigence (at least, if one accounted for changing levels of customary standards); since the coming of the machine they had certainly never risen above subsistence level; and now that the economic society was finally taking shape, it was an indubitable fact that decade after decade the material level of existence of the laboring poor was not improving a jot, if, indeed, it was not becoming worse."(128)
En de klassieke economen meenden die feiten te moeten verklaren door te verwijzen naar de processen in de natuur waardoor de ellende en de armoede als noodzakelijk en onvermijdelijk werden weggezet.
"The laws of a competitive society were put under the sanction of the jungle.
The true significance of the tormenting problem of poverty now stood revealed: economic society was subject to laws which were not human laws. The rift between Adam Smith and Townsend had broadened into a chasm; a dichotomy appeared which marked the birth of nineteenth-century consciousness. From this time onward naturalism haunted the science of man, and the reintegration of society into the human world became the persistently sought aim of the evolution of social thought. Marxian economics - in this line of argument - was an essentially unsuccessful attempt to achieve that aim, a failure due to Marx's too close adherence to Ricardo and the traditions of liberal economics. "(131)
"For a century the dynamics of modern society was governed by a double movement: the market expanded continuously but this movement was met by a countermovement checking the expansion in definite directions. Vital though such a counter movement was for the protection of society, in the last analysis it was incompatible with the self-regulation of the market, and thus with the market system itself.
That system developed in leaps and bounds; it engulfed space and time, and by creating bank money it produced a dynamic hitherto unknown. By the time it reached its maximum extent, around 1914, every part of the globe, all its inhabitants and yet unborn generations, physical persons as well as huge fictitious bodies called corporations, were comprised in it. A new way of life spread over the planet with a claim to universality unparalleled since the age when Christianity started out on its career, only this time the movement was on a purely material level.
Yet simultaneously a countermovement was on foot. This was more than the usual defensive behavior of a society faced with change; it was a reaction against a dislocation which attacked the fabric of society, and which would have destroyed the very organization of production that the market had called into being.
Robert Owen's was a true insight: market economy if left to evolve according to its own laws would create great and permanent evils."(136)
Het gevaar: de 'commodity fiction' (137) - alles werd in het marktdenken gezien als een ding met een prijs, producten, land, arbeidskracht. En dat was niet alleen een gevaar voor de samenleving, maar ook voor het bedrijfsleven zelf (bedrijven die failliet gingen omdat de prijzen voor hun producten ineens daalden door een bepaalde gebeurtenis).
[Interessant is ook dat de oorzaak van ell;ende voor het bedrijfsleven zelf volgens Polanyi kan zijn dat geld als een verkoopbaar product wordt gezien. En dat is maar al te waar gebleken. Bij een zichzelf regulerende markt was de hele economie waarschijnlijk ingestort. Nu grepen de diverse overheden in om de zaak te rfedden - hoezo zelfregulerende markt? Maar hebben de economen en handelaren en bankiers en de overheden ervan geleerd? Welnee. Nog steeds wordt de markt centraal gesteld, nog steeds wordt er te weinig gereguleerd vanuit neoliberale overtuigingen. Het is niet te geloven.]
"... the trading classes had no organ to sense the dangers involved in the exploitation of the physical strength of the worker, the destruction of family life, the devastation of neighbor hoods, the denudation of forests, the pollution of rivers, the deterioration of craft standards, the disruption of folkways, and the general degradation of existence including housing and arts, as well as the in numerable forms of private and public life that do not affect profits. The middle classes fulfilled their function by developing an all but sacramental belief in the universal beneficence of profits, although this disqualified them as the keepers of other interests as vital to a good life as the furtherance of production."(139)
[Polanyi schrijft hier over de drie klassen die ieder een eigen functie hadden. De landadel noemt hij ook nog - al zie ik niet wat die in het procews te betekenen had. En ookm noemt hij de arbeidersklasse die dus de menselijke en maatschappelijke belangen vertegenwoordigden en tegengas gaven. Ik vind die functionele beschrijving zonder verdere waardeoordelen niet prettig. Zo van 'ieder speelde zijn rol'. Ik vind dan dat te weinig nadruk komt te liggen op de immorele kant aan het handelen van de 'middenklasse' en dat ze niet verantwoordelijk gesteld worden voor de ellende die ze veroorzaakten / veroorzaken.]
"This peculiar localization of influence and power [bij bedrijfsleven en werkers - GdG] caused no trouble as long as the market system continued to function without great stress and strain; but when, for inherent reasons, this was no longer the case, and tensions between the social classes developed, society itself was endangered by the fact that the contending parties were making government and business, state and industry, respectively, their strongholds. Two vital functions of society - the political and the economic -were being used and abused as weapons in a struggle for sectional interests. It was out of such a perilous deadlock that in the twentieth century the fascist crisis sprang.
From these two angles, then, we intend to outline the movement which shaped the social history of the nineteenth century. The one was given by the clash of the organizing principles of economic liberalism and social protection which led to deep-seated institutional strain; the other by the conflict of classes which, interacting with the first, turned crisis into catastrophe."(139-140)
[Ik vind dit niet zo'n goede analyse. De landadel is ineens verdwenen. Wat is daar dan mee gebeurd als die zo belangrijk was? Ik zie ook de 'deadlock' niet die ontstond: de arbeidersklasse dwong steeds meer af dat er met haar belangen rekening werd gehouden en de bezittende klasse moest steeds meer toegeven. Wat heeft dat met de opkomst van het fascisme te maken? Polanyi moet het natuurlijk nog uitleggen, zoals hij zelf al zegt.]
Uitwerking van het economische liberale denken dat pas rond 1820 echt aan kracht won en meer werd dan het traditionele laissez-faire denken:
"Only by the 1820s did it stand for the three classical tenets: that labor should find its price on the market; that the creation of money should be subject to an automatic mechanism; that goods should be free to flow from country to country without hindrance or preference; in short, for a labor market, the gold standard , and free trade."(141)
"Not until the 1830s did economic liberalism burst forth as a crusading passion and laissez-faire become a militant creed. The manufacturing class was pressing for the amendment of the Poor Law, since it prevented the rise of an industrial working class which depended for its income on achievement. The magnitude of the venture implied in the creation of a free labor market now became apparent, as well as the extent of the misery to be inflicted on the victims of improvement. (...) Yet [ondanks alle waarschuwingen van andere poltitici om die wetten slechts zeer geleidelijk aan af te schaffen - GdG] after the political victory of the middle class, in 1832, the Poor Law Amendment Bill was carried in its most extreme form and rushed into effect without any period of grace. Laissez-faire had been catalyzed into a drive of uncompromising ferocity."(143)
"The utopian springs of the dogma of laissez-faire are but incompletely understood as long as they are viewed separately. The three tenets - competitive labor market, automatic gold standard, and international free trade - formed one whole. The sacrifices involved in achieving any one of them were useless, if not worse, unless the other two were equally secured. It was everything or nothing."(144)
"There was nothing natural about laissez-faire; free markets could never have come into being merely by allowing things to take their course. Just as cotton manufactures - the leading free trade industry - were created by the help of protective tariffs, export bounties, and indirect wage subsidies, laissez-faire itself was enforced by the state. The thirties and forties saw not only an outburst of legislation repealing restrictive regulations, but also an enormous increase in the administrative functions of the state, which was now being endowed with a central bureaucracy able to fulfil the tasks set by the adherents ofliberalism. "(145)
"The road to the free market was opened and kept open by an enormous increase in continuous, centrally organized and controlled interventionism. To make Adam Smith's 'simple and natural liberty' compatible with the needs of a human society was a most complicated affair."(146)
"Thus even those who wished most ardently to free the state from all unnecessary duties, and whose whole philosophy demanded the restriction of state activities, could not but entrust the self-same state with the new powers, organs, and instruments required for the establishment of laissez-faire."(147)
"Liberal writers like Spencer and Sumner, Mises and Lippmann offer an account of the double movement substantially similar to our own, but they put an entirely different interpretation on it. While in our view the concept of a self-regulating market was utopian, and its progress was stopped by the realistic self-protection of society, in their view all protectionism was a mistake due to impatience, greed, and shortsightedness, but for which the market would have resolved its difficulties. The question as to which of these two views is correct is perhaps the most important problem of recent social history, involving as it does no less than a decision on the claim of economic liberalism to be the basic organizing principle in society. Before we turn to the testimony of the facts, a more precise formulation of the issue is needed."(148)
"Liberal leaders never weary of repeating that the tragedy of the nineteenth century sprang from the incapacity of man to remain faithful to the inspiration of the early liberals; that the generous initiative of our ancestors was frustrated by the passions of nationalism and class war, vested interests, and monopolists, and above all, by the blindness of the working people to the ultimate beneficence of unrestricted economic freedom to all human interests, including their own. A great intellectual and moral advance was thus, it is claimed, frustrated by the intellectual and moral weaknesses of the mass of the people; what the spirit of Enlightenment had achieved was put to nought by the forces of selfishness. In a nutshell this is the economic liberal's defense. Unless it is refuted, he will continue to hold the floor in the contest of arguments."(150-151)
[Die absurde stelling is al weerlegd: er kon immers geen vrije markt / laissez faire zijn zonder dat de staat die stimuleerde - zoals al door Polanyi zelf opgemerkt. Er is simpelweg geen vrije markt, het is een illusie waarmee liberalen en neoliberalen elke regulatie proberen tegen te houden in het voordeel van het bedrijfsleven en de rijke bovenlaag. Dat was in de 19e eeuw al zo, dat is nog zo. Je kunt hooguit praten over de wenselijkheid van meer of minder invloed van de kant van sociale instituten op de economie.]
"Although it is true that the 1870s and 1880s saw the end of orthodox liberalism, and that all crucial problems of the present can be traced back to that period, it is incorrect to say that the change to social and national protectionism was due to any other cause than the manifestation of the weaknesses and perils inherent in a self-regulating market system. This can be shown in more than one way."(152)
Een voorbeeld is wat Herbert Spencer in The Man vs The State van 1884 allemaal op een rij zet over de 'ingrepen' die de overheid verrichte in de werking van de 'vrije markt'.
[Dat zijn zaken als verplichte inentingen, andere vormen van gezondheidszorg voor de werkers zoals de controle op voedsel, het zijn inspecties om de veiligheid van de werkers te regelen, etc. Spencer vindt dat allemaal totaal verkeerd en dat is typisch voor (neo)liberalen: uiteraard is dit precies wat een overheid moet doen om een samenleving voor het volk sociaal en leefbaar te houden. Maar (neo)liberalen zijn helemaal niet geïnteresseerd in het welzijn van het volk / de arbeiders, ze zijn alleen geïnteresseerd in hun eigen privileges en rijkdom.]
"Spencer adduced them as so much irrefutable evidence of an anti-liberal conspiracy. And yet each of these acts dealt with some problem arising out of modern industrial conditions and was aimed at the safeguarding of some public interest against dangers inherent either in such conditions or, at any rate, in the market method of dealing with them. To an unbiased mind they proved the purely practical and pragmatic nature of the 'collectivist' countermove. Most of those who carried these measures were convinced supporters of laissez-faire, and certainly did not wish their consent to the establishment of a fire brigade in London to imply a protest against the principles of economic liberalism. On the contrary, the sponsors of these legislative acts were as a rule uncompromising opponents of socialism, or any other form of collectivism."(153)
"Thirdly, there is the indirect, but most striking proof provided by a comparison of the development in various countries of a widely dissimilar political and ideological configuration. Victorian England and the Prussia of Bismarck were poles apart, and both were very much unlike the France of the Third Republic or the Empire of the Hapsburgs. Yet each of them passed through a period of free trade and laissez faire, followed by a period of antiliberal legislation in regard to public health, factory conditions, municipal trading, social insurance, shipping subsidies, public utilities, trade associations, and so on."(153)
"Thus under the most varied slogans, with very different motivations a multitude of parties and social strata put into effect almost exactly the same measures in a series of countries in respect of a large number of complicated subjects. There is, on the face of it, nothing more absurd than to infer that they were secretly actuated by the same ideological preconceptions or narrow group interests as the legend of the antiliberal conspiracy would have it. On the contrary, everything tends to support the assumption that objective reasons of a stringent nature forced the hands of the legislators."(154)
"In other words, if the needs of a self-regulating market proved incompatible with the demands of laissez-faire, the economic liberal turned against laissez-faire and preferred - as any antiliberal would have done - the so-called collectivist methods of regulation and restriction. Trade union law as well as antitrust legislation sprang from this attitude. No more conclusive proof could be offered of the inevitability of antiliberal or 'collectivist' methods under the conditions of modern industrial society than the fact that even economic liberals themselves regularly used such methods in decisively important fields of industrial organization."(155)
Polanyi vindt dat liberalen zowel als marxisten een te schematisch en economisch idee hebben over de klassen in een samenleving. Maar die klassentegenstellingen vormen geen verklaring voor de protectionische reacties op de praktijk van een zichzelf regulerende markt - want die kwamen vanuit allerlei groepen en opvattingen.
"Mere class interest cannot offer, therefore, a satisfactory explanation for any long-run social process. First, because the process in question may decide about the existence of the class itself; second, because the interests of given classes determine only the aim and purpose to ward which those classes are striving, not also the success or failure of their endeavours. There is no magic in class interest which would secure to members of one class the support of members of other classes. Yet such support is an everyday occurrence. Protectionism itself is an instance. The problem here was not so much why agrarians, manufacturers, or trade unionists wished to increase their incomes through protectionist action, but why they succeeded in doing so; not why businessmen and workers wished to establish monopolies for their wares, but why they attained their end; not why some groups wished to act in a similar fashion in a number of Continental countries, but why such groups existed in these otherwise dissimilar countries and equally achieved their aims everywhere; not why those who grew corn attempted to sell it dear, but why they regularly succeeded in persuading those who bought the corn to help to raise its price."(160)
"Al this should warn us against relying too much on the economic interests of given classes in the explanation of history. Such an approach would tacitly imply the givenness of those classes in a sense in which this is possible only in an indestructible society."(163)
[Ik vind de analyse niet helemaal overtuigend. Ik vind dat je sociale en economische motieven en verhoudingen niet zo maar uit elkaar kunt leggen. Dat klassentegenstellingen niet alleen maar economisch zijn, lijkt me logisch. Maar het gaat ook om machtsverhoudingen, om de kansen die je hebt, en dergelijke. En de bezittende laag had de macht en kon de andere klasse dwingen zaken te accepteren die niet in het belang waren van die andere klasse. Het is een combinatie van rijkdom, een bepaalde moraal, machtspositie, superioriteitsgevoelens, en zo verder. ]
"In order to fix safely the blame on the alleged collectivist conspiracy, economic liberals must ultimately deny that any need for the protection of society had arisen. Recently they acclaimed views of some scholars who had rejected the traditional doctrine of the Industrial Revolution according to which a catastrophe broke in upon the unfortunate labouring classes of England about the 1790s. Nothing in the nature of a sudden deterioration of standards, according to these writers, ever overwhelmed the common people. They were, on the average, substantially better off after than before the introduction of the factory system, and, as to numbers, nobody could deny their rapid increase. By the accepted yardsticks of economic welfare - real wages and population figures - the Inferno of early capitalism, they maintained, never existed; the working classes, far from being exploited, were economically the gainers and to argue the need for social protection against a system that benefited all was obviously impossible.
Critics of liberal capitalism were baffled. For some seventy years, scholars and Royal Commissions alike had denounced the horrors of the Industrial Revolution, and a galaxy of poets, thinkers, and writers had branded its cruelties. It was deemed an established fact that the masses were being sweated and starved by the callous exploiters of their helplessness; that enclosures had deprived the country folk of their homes and plots, and thrown them on the labor market created by the Poor Law Reform and that the authenticated tragedies of the small children who were sometimes worked to death in mines and factories offered ghastly proof of the destitution of the masses. Indeed, the familiar explanation of the Industrial Revolution rested on the degree of exploitation made possible by eighteenth-century enclosures; or the low wages offered to homeless workers which accounted for the high profits of the cotton industry as well as the rapid accumulation of capital in the hands of the early manufacturers. And the charge against them was exploitation, a boundless exploitation of their fellow citizens that was the root cause of so much misery and debasement. All this was now apparently refuted. Economic historians proclaimed the message that the black shadow that overcast the early decades of the factory system had been dispelled. For how could there be social catastrophe where there was undoubtedly economic improvement?"(163-164)
Maar je kunt een sociale ramp niet zo maar afmeten aan cijfertjes over inkomens of bevolkingsgroei. Het gaat ook om de snelle disintegratie van een culturele omgeving, om een cultureel en sociaal vacuum waarin mensen terecht komen. Een te grote nadruk op de economische exploitatie versluiert die culturele degradatie die plaats vindt.
"Who, for instance, would care to deny that a formerly free people dragged into slavery was exploited, though their standard of life, in some artificial sense, may have been improved in the country to which they were sold as compared with what it was in their native bush? "(167)
"The forced land allotment made to the American Indians, in 1887, benefited them individually, according to our financial scale of reckoning. Yet the measure all but destroyed the race in its physical existence - the outstanding case of cultural degeneration on record."(168)
"Economistic prejudice was the source both of the crude exploitation theory of early capitalism and of the no less crude, though more scholarly, misapprehension which later denied the existence of a social catastrophe. The significant implication of this latter and more recent interpretation of history was the rehabilitation of laissez-faire economy. For if liberal economics did not cause disaster, then protectionism, which robbed the world of the benefits of free markets, was a wanton crime."(168-169)
[Ook deze analyse vind ik wat te gemakkelijk en neutraal. Natuurlijk ging het in de Industriële Revolutie niet alleen om de economie en ik vind het heel goed dat Polanyi de sociale en culturele desintegratie benadrukt die een groot deel van de ellende veroorzaakte. Maar het was wel degelijk ook een bewuste economische exploitatie en die leidde tot een ongekende armoede, ziekte, en zo verder. Ik vind dat Thompson heel overtuigend laat zien dat die zogenaamde stijging van inkomens en toenemende welvaart die de Oostenrijke economen bedachten voor een groot deel voortkomen uit statistische truukjes. Ik vind Polanyi veel te aardig voor die Oostenrijkse geschiedvervalsers.]
"To separate laws of labor from other activities of life and to subject it to the laws of the market was to annihilate all organic forms of existence and to replace them by a different type of organization, an atomistic and individualistic one.
Such a scheme of destruction was best served by the application of the principle of freedom of contract. In practice this meant that the noncontractual organizations of kinship, neighborhood, profession, and creed were to be liquidated since they claimed the allegiance of the individual and thus restrained his freedom. To represent this principle as one of noninterference, as economic liberals were wont to do, was merely the expression of an ingrained prejudice in favor of a definite kind of interference, namely, such as would destroy noncontractual relations between individuals and prevent their spontaneous reformation."(171)
"It is the absence of the threat of individual starvation which makes primitive society, in a sense, more humane than market economy, and at the same time less economic."(172)
"Now, what the white man may still occasionally practice in remote regions today, namely, the smashing up of social structures in order to extract the element of labor from them, was done in the eighteenth century to white populations by white men for similar purposes."(172)
"To Owenism with its claim to man as a whole there still clung some thing of that medieval inheritance of corporative life which found expression in the Builders' Guild and in the rural scene of its social ideal, the Villages of Cooperation. Although it was the fount of modern socialism, its proposals were not based on the property issue, which is the legal aspect only of capitalism. In hitting on the new phenomenon of industry, as Saint-Simon had done, it recognized the challenge of the machine. But the characteristic trait in Owenism was that it insisted on the social approach: it refused to accept the division of society into an economic and political sphere, and, in effect, rejected political action on that account. The acceptance of a separate economic sphere would have implied the recognition of the principle of gain and profit as the organizing force in society. This Owen refused to do. His genius recognized that the incorporation of the machine was possible only in a new society. For him the industrial aspect of things was in no way restricted to the economic (this would have implied a marketing view of society which he rejected) . New Lanark had taught him that in a worker's life wages was only one among many factors such as natural and home surroundings, quality and prices of commodities, stability of employment, and security of tenure. (The factories of New Lanark like some other firms before them kept their employees on the payroll even when there was no work for them to do. ) But much more than that was comprised in the adjustment. The education of children and adults, provision for entertainment, dance, and music, and the general assumption of high moral and personal standards of old and young created the atmosphere in which a new status was attained by the industrial population as a whole. Thousands of persons from all over Europe (and even America) visited New Lanark as if it were a reservation of the future in which had been accomplished the impossible feat of running a successful factory business with a human population. Yet Owen's firm paid considerably lower wages than those current in some neighboring towns. The profits of New Lanark sprang mainly from the high productivity of labor on shorter hours, due to excellent organization and rested men, advantages which outweighed the increase in real wages involved in the generous provisions for a decent life. But the latter alone explain the sentiments of all but adulation with which his workers clung to Owen. Out of experiences such as these he extracted the social, that is, wider-than-economic approach to the problem of industry. "(178-179)
Over land / grond als 'commodity', als een verkoopbaar en verhandelbaar product.
"What we call land is an element of nature inextricably interwoven with man's institutions. To isolate it and form a market for it was perhaps the weirdest of all the undertakings of our ancestors."(187)
"The proposition is as utopian in respect to land as in respect to labor. The economic function is but one of many vital functions of land. It invests man's life with stability; it is the site of his habitation; it is a condition of his physical safety; it is the landscape and the seasons. We might as well imagine his being born without hands and feet as carrying on his life without land. And yet to separate land from man and to organize society in such a way as to satisfy the requirements of a real-estate market was a vital part of the utopian concept of a market economy."(187)
"Superficially, there was little likeness in the responses to these challenges, yet they were merely stages in the subjection of the surface of the planet to the needs of an industrial society. The first stage was the commercialization of the soil, mobilizing the feudal revenue of the land. The second was the forcing up of the production of food and organic raw materials to serve the needs of a rapidly growing industrial population on a national scale. The third was the extension of such a system of surplus production to overseas and colonial territories. With this last step land and its produce were finally fitted into the scheme of a self-regulating world market."(188)
"... between 1830 and 1860, freedom of contract was extended to the land. This powerful trend was reversed only in the 1870s when legislation altered its course radically. The 'collectivist' period had begun"(191)
"The dangers to man and nature cannot be neatly separated. The reactions of the working class and the peasantry to market economy both led to protectionism, the former mainly in the form of social legislation and factory laws, the latter in agrarian tariffs and land laws. Yet there was this important difference: in an emergency, the farmers and peasants of Europe defended the market system, which working-class policies endangered."(200)
Over geld als 'commodity'. Er ontstonden ook beschermende maatregelen en wetten ten aanzien van het bedrijfsleven zelf wanneer de gevolgen van de marktwerking uit de hand dreigden te lopen. De oprichting van Centrale Banken was een dergelijke maatregel.
"The case of money showed a very real analogy to that of labor and land. The application of the commodity fiction to each of them led to its effective inclusion into the market system, while at the same time grave dangers to society developed. With money, the threat was to productive enterprise, the existence of which was imperiled by any fall in the price level caused by use of commodity money. Here also protective measures had to be taken, with the result that the self-steering mechanism of the market was put out of action."(204)
"Indeed, the great institutional significance of central banking lay in the fact that monetary policy was thereby drawn into the sphere of politics . The consequences could not be other than far reaching."(207)
"Economic liberalism had started a hundred years before and had been met by a protectionist countermove, which now broke into the last bastion of market economy. A new set of ruling ideas superseded the world of the self-regulating market. To the stupefaction of the vast majority of contemporaries, unsuspected forces of charismatic leader ship and autarchist isolationism broke forth and fused societies into new forms."(209)
"How far the state was induced to interfere depended on the constitution of the political sphere and on the degree of economic distress. As long as the vote was restricted and only the few exerted political in fluence, interventionism was a much less urgent problem than it be came after universal suffrage made the state the organ of the ruling million - the identical million who, in the economic realm, had often to carry in bitterness the burden of the ruled. And as long as employment was plentiful, incomes were secure, production was continuous, living standards were dependable, and prices were stable, interventionist pressure was naturally less than it became when protracted slumps made industry a wreckage of unused tools and frustrated effort."(216)
"On this point also the traditional liberal version of the collectivist conspiracy was a misrepresentation of the facts. The free trade and gold standard system was not wantonly wrecked by selfish tariff mongers and soft-hearted legislators; on the contrary, the coming of the gold standard itself hastened the spreading of these protectionist insti tutions, which were the more welcome the more burdensome fixed exchanges proved."(223)
"It might be objected that this outline is the result of sustained oversimplification . Market economy did not start in a day, nor did the three markets run a pace like a troika, nor did protectionism have parallel effects in all markets, and so on. This, of course, is true; only, it misses the point at issue.
Admittedly, economic liberalism merely created a novel mechanism out of more or less developed markets; it unified various types of already existing markets, and coordinated their functions in a single whole. Also, the separation of labor and land was, by that time, well on the way, and so was the development of markets for money and credit. All along the line the present was linked with the past, and nowhere was a break to be found.
Yet institutional change, such is its nature, started to operate abruptly. The critical stage was reached with the establishment of a labor market in England, in which workers were put under the threat of starvation if they failed to comply with the rules of wage labor. As soon as this drastic step was taken, the mechanism of the self-regulating market sprang into gear. Its impact on society was so violent that, almost instantly, and without any prior change in opinion, powerful protective reactions set in."(225)
"We are nearing the conclusion of our narrative. Yet a considerable part of our argument remains to be unfolded. For even if we have succeeded in proving beyond any doubt that at the heart of the transformation there was the failure of the market utopia, it is still incumbent upon us to show in what manner actual events were determined by this cause."(227)
"But how did the inevitable actually happen? How was it translated into the political events which are the core of history? Into this final phase of the fall of market economy the conflict of class forces entered decisively."(228)
"Indeed, the utopian nature of a market society cannot be better illustrated than by the absurdities in which the commodity fiction in regard to labor must involve the community. The strike, this normal bargaining weapon of industrial action, was more and more frequently felt to be a wanton interruption of socially useful work, which, at the same time, diminished the social dividend out of which, ultimately, wages must come. Sympathy strikes were resented, general strikes were regarded as a threat to the existence of the community. Actually, strikes in vital services and public utilities held the citizens to ransom while involving them in the labyrinthine problem of the true functions of a labor market. Labor is supposed to find its price on the market, any other price than that so established being uneconomical. As long as labor lives up to this responsibility, it will behave as an element in the supply of that which it is, the commodity 'labor', and will refuse to sell below the price which the buyer can still afford to pay. Consistently followed up, this means that the chief obligation of labor is to be almost continually on strike. The proposition could not be outbidden for sheer absurdity, yet it is only the logical inference from the commodity theory of labor. The source of the incongruity of theory and practice is, of course that labor is not really a commodity, and that if labor was withheld merely in order to ascertain its exact price (just as an increase in supply of all other commodities is withheld in similar circumstances) society would very soon dissolve for lack of sustenance. It is remarkable that this consideration is very rarely, if ever, mentioned in the discussion of the strike issue on the part of liberal economists."(239)
"Socialism is, essentially, the tendency inherent in an industrial civilization to transcend the self-regulating market by consciously subordinating it to a democratic society. It is the solution natural to industrial workers who see no reason why production should not be regulated directly and why markets should be more than a useful but subordinate trait in a free society. From the point of view of the community as a whole, socialism is merely the continuation of that endeavor to make society a distinctively human relationship of persons which in Western Europe was always associated with Christian traditions. From the point of view of the economic system, it is, on the contrary, a radical departure from the immediate past, insofar as it breaks with the attempt to make private money gains the general incentive to productive activities, and does not acknowledge the right of private individuals to dispose of the main instruments of production. This is, ultimately, why the reform of capitalist economy by socialist parties is difficult even when they are determined not to interfere with the property system. For the mere possibility that they might decide to do so undermines that type of confidence which in liberal economy is vital, namely, absolute confidence in the continuity of titles to property. While the actual content of property rights might undergo redefinition at the hands of legislation, assurance of formal continuity is essential to the functioning of the market system."(242-243)
"If ever there was a political movement that responded to the needs of an objective situation and was not a result of fortuitous causes, it was fascism. At the same time, the degenerative character of the fascist solution was evident. It offered an escape from an institutional deadlock which was essentially alike in a large number of countries, and yet, if the remedy were tried, it would everywhere produce sickness unto death. That is the manner in which civilizations perish.
The fascist solution of the impasse reached by liberal capitalism can be described as a reform of market economy achieved at the price of the extirpation of all democratic institutions, both in the industrial and in the political realm. The economic system which was in peril of disruption would thus be revitalized, while the people themselves were subjected to a reeducation designed to denaturalize the individual and make him unable to function as the responsible unit of the body politic."(245)
"Nineteenth-century civilization was not destroyed by the external or internal attack of barbarians; its vitality was not sapped by the devastations of World War I nor by the revolt of a socialist proletariat or a fascist lower middle class. Its failure was not the outcome of some alleged laws of economics such as that of the falling rate of profit or of underconsumption or overproduction. It disintegrated as the result of an entirely different set of causes: the measures which society adopted in order not to be, in its turn, annihilated by the action of the self-regulating market. Apart from exceptional circumstances such as existed in North America in the age of the open frontier, the conflict between the market and the elementary requirements of an organized social life provided the century with its dynamics and produced the typical strains and stresses which ultimately destroyed that society. External wars merely hastened its destruction."(257)
"The true criticism of market society is not that it was based on economics - in a sense, every and any society must be based on it - but that its economy was based on self-interest. Such an organization of economic life is entirely unnatural, in the strictly empirical sense of exceptional."(257)
"The tendency to barter, on which Adam Smith so confidently relied for his picture of primitive man, is not a common tendency of the human being in his economic activities, but a most infrequent one . Not only does the evidence of modern anthropology give the lie to these rationalistic constructs, but the history of trade and markets also has been completely different from that assumed in the harmonistic teachings of nineteenth century sociologists. Economic history reveals that the emergence of national markets was in no way the result of the gradual and spontaneous emancipation of the economic sphere from governmental control. On the contrary, the market has been the outcome of a conscious and often violent intervention on the part of government which imposed the market organization on society for noneconomic ends. And the self-regulating market of the nineteenth century turns out on closer inspection to be radically different from even its immediate predecessor in that it relied for its regulation on economic self-interest. The congenital weakness of nineteenth-century society was not that it was industrial but that it was a market society. Industrial civilization will continue to exist when the utopian experiment of a self- regulating market will be no more than a memory."(258)
"The nineteenth century attempted to establish a self-regulating economic system on the motive of individual gain. We maintain that such a venture was in the very nature of things impossible. Here we are merely concerned with the distorted view oflife and society implied in such an approach. Nineteenth-century thinkers assumed, for instance, that to behave like a trader in the market was 'natural'; any other mode of behavior being artificial economic behavior - the result of interference with human instincts; that markets would spontaneously arise, if only men were let alone; that whatever the desirability of such a society on moral grounds, its practicability, at least, was founded on the immutable characteristics of the race, and so on. Almost exactly the opposite of these assertions is implied in the testimony of modern research in various fields of social science such as social anthropology, primitive economics, the history of early civilization, and general economic history. Indeed, there is hardly an anthropological or sociological assumption - whether explicit or implicit contained in the philosophy of economic liberalism that has not been refuted. Some citations follow."(277)
Een overzichtje van de stellingen:(277) (a) The motive of gain is not 'natural' to man. (277) (b) To expect payment for labor is not 'natural' to man. (277) (c) To restrict labor to the unavoidable minimum is not 'natural' to man. (277) (d) The usual incentives to labor are not gain but reciprocity, competition, joy of work, and social approbation. (278) (e) Man the same down the ages. (279) (f) Economic systems, as a rule, are embedded in social relations; distribution of material goods is ensured by noneconomic motives. (279) (g) Individual food collection for the use of his own person and family does not form part of early man's life. (280) (h) Reciprocity and redistribution are principles of economic behavior which apply not only to small primitive communities, but also to large and wealthy empires.
"Economic liberalism labored under the delusion that its practices and methods were the natural outgrowth of a general law of progress. To make them fit the pattern, the principles underlying a self-regulating market were projected backward into the whole history of human civilization. As a result the true nature and origins of trade, markets, and money, of town life and national states were distorted almost beyond recognition."(280)
De stellingen hier:(280) (a) Individual acts of 'truck, barter, and exchange' are only exceptionally practiced in primitive society. (281) (b) Trade does not arise within a community ; it is an external affair involving different communities. (281) (c) Trade does not rely on markets; it springs from one-sided carrying, peaceful or otherwise. (281) (d) The presence or absence of markets was not an essential characteristic; local markets have no tendency to grow. (282) (e) Division of labor does not originate in trade or exchange, but in geographical, biological, and other noneconomic facts. (282) (f) Money is not a decisive invention; its presence or absence need not make an essential difference to the type of economy. (283) (g) Foreign trade was originally not trade between individuals but between collectivities. (283) (h) The countryside was cut out of trade in the Middle Ages. (283) (i) No indiscriminate trading between town and town was practiced in the Middle Ages. (283) (j) National protectionism was unknown. (284) (k) Mercantilism forced freer trade upon towns and provinces within the national boundaries. (284) (l) Medieval regulationism was highly successful. (284) (m) Mercantilism extended municipal practices to the national territory. (284) (n) Mercantilism was a most successful policy .