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image of Philosophia Reformata

This article examines Karl Polanyi’s “double-movement thesis” and, in particular, his claim that modern economies are characterized by a dis-embedding of the economy from society. I examine two significant lines of criticism of this thesis: first, that the concept of “embeddedness” is incoherent in that it implies that economies both can and cannot become “dis-embedded” from society; second, that, though conceptually coherent, the concept does not supply adequate normative guidance for those seeking to address the economic and social problems that emerge from a “dis-embedded” economy. I argue that re-articulating the double-movement thesis in the terms of Reformational social philosophy can show how these problems can be resolved.


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