Policy Shop Weekly Digest: The Week of Polanyi

I had 2 posts over at Demos’ Policy Shop this week. Here is a rundown with links:

Libertarianism’s Battle With History. Excerpt:

But as much as market fanatics tried, they never could succeed in casting the economy as something separate from or above social order. Instead, what we saw (and what we see in developing countries today) is a constant rhythm of a double movement. In the first move, market mechanisms expand into new areas of social life, and in the second move, people fight to check this movement insofar as it is utterly ruinous to the functioning of a human society.

Libertarianism and the “Crony Capitalism” Dodge. Excerpt:

We have a pretty substantial record of country after country going through the great transformation into a market economy. Without fail, the social terror caused by certain aspects of that experience cause every single country and people to undertake countermovements to protect themselves from the nihilistic maw of unfettered market expansion into everything. This countermovement — which again happens literally everywhere market capitalism is tried — does not disrupt some serene and awesome laissez-faire world; it happens because that world is horrible. The libertarian “crony capitalism” dodge uses the fact that unfettered capitalism is so insufferable that it never lasts for long to somehow argue that there is no empirical evidence proving that the libertarian system is terrible. But that is the empirical evidence that proves the system is terrible: people hate it so much that they universally abandon it as soon as they can!