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New Left Review 81, May-June 2013

nancy fraser


Parsing the Politics of Crisis after Polanyi

In many respects, today’s crisis resembles that of the 1930s, as described by Karl Polanyi in The Great Transformation. [1] An earlier version of this essay was delivered as a ‘Luxemburg Lecture’ in Berlin on 22 November 2012. I gratefully acknowledge support from the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, the Einstein Stiftung (Berlin), the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften (Bad Homburg), and the Centre for Advanced Studies ‘Justitia Amplificata’, Frankfurt. Thanks also to Blair Taylor for research assistance. Now, as then, a relentless push to extend and de-regulate markets is everywhere wreaking havoc—destroying the livelihoods of billions of people; fraying families, weakening communities and rupturing solidarities; trashing habitats and despoiling nature across the globe. Now, as then, attempts to commodify nature, labour and money are destabilizing society and economy—witness the destructive effects of unregulated trading in biotechnology, carbon offsets and, of course, in financial derivatives; the impacts on child care, schooling, and care of the elderly. Now, as then, the result is a crisis in multiple dimensions—not only economic and financial, but also ecological and social.

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Nancy Fraser, ‘A Triple Movement?’, NLR 81: £3

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