SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Selwyn, Benjamin and Miyamura, Satoshi (2014) 'Class Struggle or Embedded Markets? Marx, Polanyi and the Meanings and Possibilities of Social Transformation.' New Political Economy, 19 (5). pp. 639-661.

Full text not available from this repository.


Marx and Polanyi both held that socialism, in one form or another, was a preferable and possible alternative to capitalism. Their ideas are seen to offer theoretical tools to understand the tensions and contradictions of capitalism, and to inform ways to overcome them. This paper discusses Polanyi's work from a Marxist perspective in order to illuminate his strengths and weaknesses. Its main focus is to discuss Polanyi's juxtaposing of commodification against exploitation, in diagnosing the problems of capitalist expansion. We suggest that by juxtaposing these two moments, Polanyi not only misses out on a crucial arena of capitalist activity (exploitation), but also undermines his own explication of processes of commodification. This has deleterious consequences for his understanding of the prevalence of poverty under capitalism. It also means that his vision of social transformation and of socialism is profoundly different, and potentially antithetical, to that of Marx. We suggest that for Polanyi's conception of de-commodification to gain greater traction it needs to be combined with Marx's analysis of exploitation and class struggle.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Economics
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Economics
ISSN: 13563467
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2015 12:13
Related URLs: http://dx.doi.o ... 467.2013.844117 (Publisher URL)

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item