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Economics and Rationality: Contributions and Limits of Polanyian Approach


  • Nicolas POSTEL


  • Richard SOBEL



Polanyi analyzes the historical deployment of a "formal" economic science starting from the triptych "market-rarety- instrumental rationality ". It reveals this triptych, and the knowledge which is devoted to it, as being a part of a question broader than should analyze a "substantial" economic science being interested in the triptych "need-nature-institution". If we can and must follow Polanyi in his criticism of economism suited to the first triptytic, we have more reserve to accept his solution of substitution, an heterogeneous mixture of naturalism and institutionalism, of essentialism and historicism. The thesis defended in the article is that it is necessary to be more polanyian that Polanyi himself, and to develop an economy of the practical reason, base of an economic science reintroduced inside social sciences.

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  • Nicolas POSTEL & Richard SOBEL, 2008. "Economics and Rationality: Contributions and Limits of Polanyian Approach," Cahiers d’économie politique / Papers in Political Economy, L'Harmattan, issue 54, pages 121-148, Jan - Jun.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpo:journl:y:2008:i:54:p:121-148

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    JEL classification:

    • A10 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - General
    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • B25 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary; Austrian; Stockholm School
    • B40 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - General
    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary


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