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Karl Polanyi and twenty-first-century capitalism$
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Radhika Desai and Kari Polanyi Levitt

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526127884

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7765/9781526127891

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 28 June 2022

The reality of society1

The reality of society1

(p.125) 6 The reality of society1
Karl Polanyi and twenty-first-century capitalism

Abraham Rotstein

Manchester University Press

In these remarkably stirring reflections, delivered at the 2014 conference from which most of the contributions to this volume emerge, the late Abe Rotstein, Polanyi’s student and collaborator, recalls the projected sequel to The Great Transformation, to be titled Freedom and Technology. Whereas the former was built on a social sciences approach using institutional analysis, the sequel was to follow the intention Hegel expressed in the words ‘Wir die religiöseVorstellung in Gedankenfassen’ (We want to turn religious expression into philosophical thought). Polanyi took religion seriously – not its outer ceremonial trappings but the important truths that lay behind and beneath these beliefs and practices. The sequel was to trace humanity’s progression through three major revelations: the knowledge of death, the discovery of our inner life and conscience, and the realization of freedom amid our social obligations. This was the idea of ‘the reality of society’ around which the whole book was to be built. It was the precursor of our cherished civil freedoms and closely connected with Polanyi’s idea of freedom in a complex society it is also deeply threatened in an age of state and corporate cyber surveillance.

Keywords:   The reality of society, The knowledge of death, Freedom and conscience, Freedom in a complex society Hegel, Religion, Revelation

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