Karl Polanyi

The Great Transformation

The Great Transformation

The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time


‘One of the most powerful books in social sciences ever written. ... A must-read’ Thomas Piketty

‘The twentieth century's most prophetic critic of capitalism’

Tracing the history of capitalism in England and beyond, Karl Polanyi's landmark 1944 classic brilliantly exposed the myth of laissez-faire economics. From the great transformation that occurred during the industrial revolution onwards, he showed, there has been nothing 'natural' about the market state. Instead, the economy must always be embedded in society, and human needs and relations. Witnessing the 'avalanche of social dislocation' of his time - from the Great Depression, to the rise of fascism and communism and the First and Second World Wars - Polanyi ends with a rallying cry for freedom, and a passionate vision to protect our common humanity.

‘Polanyi’s revolutionary work is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the complexities of our economic systems and debunking the myths around the free market’ Mariana Mazzucato