The Double Movement in Polanyi and Hayek: Towards the Continuation of Life

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Karl Polanyi’s double movement is a dialectical process characterized by a continuous tension between a movement towards social marketization and a movement towards social protectionism. Notably, Polanyi condemns the former movement while defending the latter. Without using the term “double movement”, F.A Hayek’s theory of social evolution acknowledges the same phenomenon but reaches different normative conclusions. While for Polanyi the marketization of society is a utopia with dystopian consequences, Hayek’s evolutionary explanation of this dialectical process asserts that there is no alternative to a market oriented society. Both authors defend that their favoured movement is the one that truly supports the continuity of life. This article compares the authors’ normative readings of the double movement and concludes that, from an evolutionary perspective, Polanyi’s conclusion possesses a robustness that Hayek’s postulate lacks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-350
Number of pages21
JournalEthics, Politics and Society
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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