Market Society

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Xiaoxi Chen Chen 1 Professor Cameron Johnston AP/SOSC1140 12 February 2015 The Great Transformation to Market Society We are living in market society, which is so different from previous societies. In market society, the whole of society is a system of self-regulating market (Polanyi 43). In order to make the market society function, people need to think and act in certain ways(Polanyi 68). For example, people in market society think that economic relations are much more important than interpersonal relations (Polanyi 44). Polanyi calls the emergence of market society “the great transformation”. My thesis statement is that the shift to market society is a…show more content…
In contrast, the economy within societies based on tradition lies on procedures designed in the past and maintained by shared customs and beliefs which are extremely powerful (Helibroner 8). For a society based on commands, there is always an imposed authority or an economic command. The economic problems are solved according to the commander’s decisions (Helibroner 10). This is the very first time in human beings’ history that economy is run by markets, making the transformation to market society appear to be unprecedented (Polanyi 43). What also characterizes market society is the emergence of the concept of “fictitious commodities”. Fictitious commodities refer to labor, land, and money (Polanyi 72). “fictitious” implies that they are actually not commodities (Polanyi 72). They are turned into commodities for the effective operation of market society (Polanyi 72). In market society, everything is provided as a commodity. As the major elements of industry, labor, land , and money need to be provided for maintaining productivity and they can only be provided when they are on the market for sale (Polanyi 72). Differently, “Under the feudalism and the gild system land and labor formed part of the social organization itself ” (Polanyi 69). Land were crucial for feudal order, status and function of which “were determined by legal and customary Chen 3 rules” (Polanyi 69).
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