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This article aims to show that studies of transnational risk regulation can benefit from Polanyian and neo-Polanyian research agendas in the field of law, economy, and…
This article aims to show that studies of transnational risk regulation can benefit from Polanyian and neo-Polanyian research agendas in the field of law, economy, and society. Risk regulation would then be understood as a corrective force within the market society. Drawing on the relevant literature in the field, Karl Polanyi’s work is contextualized both in the past (“scholarship before and beside Polanyi”) and in the present (“scholarship after and beyond Polanyi”). The review considers developments within sociology, its neighboring disciplines economics and jurisprudence, and the interdisciplinary research fields of “economy and society,” “law and society,” and “law and economy.” The article demonstrates that Polanyi is a “late classic” who shares the holistic orientation of classical historical scholarship. At the same time, it is argued that his “early revival” is due to the topicality of his criticism of the market society, and its inherent risks, in an era of neoliberalism and globalization. By going back and forth in time, the article situates Polanyi in a line of holistically minded scholarship that combines insights of general, economic, and legal sociology in what can be called the “economic sociology of law.” This is “old” and “new,” at the same time.
This introduction unpacks the key question that informs the articles in this special issue. How does a social sphere inform regulation and, more specifically, how can the…
This introduction unpacks the key question that informs the articles in this special issue. How does a social sphere inform regulation and, more specifically, how can the regulatory capacity of a social sphere be harnessed, as an alternative or significant complementary force to state regulation and reliance on the self-regulatory capacity of markets? This question is salient and topical also in light of the search for new regulatory strategies and perspectives in the aftermath of the 2007 financial and subsequent EU sovereign debt crises, which have led to a major realignment of economy and society in a number of countries.
This introduction argues that economic sociology is a crucial reference point for understanding more about the social practices that constitute business behavior. It enables to explore the scope and significance of often interlinked social and legal norms for regulating various transnational risks that economic activity can give rise to. The introduction therefore locates the quest for understanding more about the regulatory capacity of a social sphere in debates that draw on Karl Polanyi’s analysis of the embedding, disembedding, and re-embedding of economic activity into social norms. The introduction highlights one of the key themes developed in this special issue, the idea of society within economy which questions an assumed conceptual distinction between economy and society.
This introduction concludes by specifying how the accounts of risk regulation developed in this special issue chart a path that is different from recent explorations of the role of a social sphere in regulation, which were conducted under the banner of “the sociological citizen,” “regulatory sociability,” and “collaborative governance.”
Since the 1990s, the French government has offered tax exemptions for people who buy property and rent it out for at least nine years. This legal framework, centered on…
Since the 1990s, the French government has offered tax exemptions for people who buy property and rent it out for at least nine years. This legal framework, centered on incentives, can be considered a new kind of (de)regulation of housing policy, triggering a multiplication of private intermediaries devoted to finding clients for tax exemptions. Based on interviews with 28 investors who feel they have been abused (many of them have started legal proceedings against professionals from whom they bought a property), this study provides a new entry for analyzing legal intermediation, showing that it does not affect all laypeople in the same way, especially when looking at the latter’s social and economic resources. We analyze how and with what devices professionals, whose commercial practices are not fully regulated by law, rely on the law for the success of their transactions, especially with taxpayers who have money to become investors but who are not rich enough to pay for the services of a tax professional. We argue that the ability to resist the appeal of putting money into investments that turned out risky depends on investors’ social and economic resources. Finally, we analyze how the process of legal intermediation described in this chapter impacts investors’ legal consciousness and creates distrust toward the law.
Nobody concerned with political economy can neglect the history of economic doctrines. Structural changes in the economy and society influence economic thinking and…
Nobody concerned with political economy can neglect the history of economic doctrines. Structural changes in the economy and society influence economic thinking and, conversely, innovative thought structures and attitudes have almost always forced economic institutions and modes of behaviour to adjust. We learn from the history of economic doctrines how a particular theory emerged and whether, and in which environment, it could take root. We can see how a school evolves out of a common methodological perception and similar techniques of analysis, and how it has to establish itself. The interaction between unresolved problems on the one hand, and the search for better solutions or explanations on the other, leads to a change in paradigma and to the formation of new lines of reasoning. As long as the real world is subject to progress and change scientific search for explanation must out of necessity continue.
There is hardly any other field of knowledge where there is moreconflict or controversy between ideas and solutions proposed bytheoreticians and statesmen than in…
There is hardly any other field of knowledge where there is more conflict or controversy between ideas and solutions proposed by theoreticians and statesmen than in politics. To date, adequate methodological tools have not been developed which enable the truth or validity of the liberal or conservative approaches to be tested. A new research programme using a simultaneous equilibrium versus disequilibrium approach is proposed which has full application in politics as well as in economics and the social sciences. This research programme shows the organic relationship between society, state, economy, money and form of government, and thus leads to a methodological unification of all the social sciences, to a new principia politica.
To reexamine the Weber Thesis pertaining to the relationship between ascetic Protestantism – especially Calvinism – and modern capitalism, as between an economic “spirit”…
To reexamine the Weber Thesis pertaining to the relationship between ascetic Protestantism – especially Calvinism – and modern capitalism, as between an economic “spirit” and an economic “structure,” in which the first is assumed to be the explanatory factor and the second the dependent variable.
The chapter provides an attempt to combine theoretical-empirical and comparative-historical approaches to integrate theory with evidence supplied by societal comparisons and historically specific cases.
The chapter identifies the general sociological core of the Weber Thesis as a classic endeavor in economic sociology (and thus substantive sociological theory) and separates it from its particular historical dimension in the form of an empirical generalization from history. I argue that such a distinction helps to better understand the puzzling double “fate” of the Weber Thesis in social science, its status of a model in economic sociology and substantive sociological theory, on the one hand, and its frequent rejection in history and historical economics, on the other. The sociological core of the Thesis, postulating that religion, ideology, and culture generally deeply impact economy, has proved to be more valid, enduring, and even paradigmatic, as in economic sociology, than its historical component establishing a special causal linkage between Calvinism and other types of ascetic Protestantism and the “spirit” and “structure” of modern capitalism in Western society at a specific point in history.
In addition to the two cases deviating from the Weber Thesis considered here, it is necessary to investigate and identify the validity of the Thesis with regard to concrete historical and empirical instances.
The chapter provides the first effort to systematically analyze and distinguish between the sociological core and the historical components of the Weber Thesis as distinct yet intertwined components.
The author argues that we must stop and take a look at what our insistence on human labour as the basis of our society is doing to us, and begin to search for possible alternatives. We need the vision and the courage to aim for the highest level of technology attainable for the widest possible use in both industry and services. We need financial arrangements that will encourage people to invent themselves out of work. Our goal, the article argues, must be the reduction of human labour to the greatest extent possible, to free people for more enjoyable, creative, human activities.
The economic science is again in a crisis and a new solution prolegomena to any future study in economics, finance and other social sciences has just been published by the…
The economic science is again in a crisis and a new solution prolegomena to any future study in economics, finance and other social sciences has just been published by the International Institute of Social Economics in care of the MCB University Press in England. The roots of the major financial and economic problems of our time lie in an open conflict between theory and practice. In the 1930s and before the conflict was between classical theory and given realities. In the 1990s the conflict appears between the now prevailing modern, Keynesian theory and the actual realities. In addition during the twentieth century a great argument developed between the two schools of thought, argument which is not yet settled. In one sentence, the prolegomena tried and was successful to solve the conflict between theory and practice and the big doctrinal dispute of the twentieth century. It was a struggle of research and observation over half a century between 1947 and 1997.