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Supra-National Money and the Euro Crisis: Lessons from Karl Polanyi

Mario Seccareccia and Eugenia Correa ()

Forum for Social Economics, 2017, vol. 46, issue 3, 252-274

Abstract: The paper seeks to examine some of the key features of Karl Polanyi’s ideas explaining the collapse of the pre-Great Depression unregulated market system by using his broad framework of analysis, as developed in The Great Transformation and published over 70 years ago, to explain the present Eurozone crisis. Emphasis is placed on the two key institutions of the pre-Depression era, namely haute finance and the gold standard, as well as his heterodox views on the nature and origin of money to shed light on the evolving crisis within the Eurozone. On the basis of Polanyi’s insights, the paper concludes that the cause of the latter crisis is similar and it lies primarily in the adoption of stateless or supra-national money that is even more restrictive on the behaviour of national authorities than the conditions imposed under the gold standard. The current situation of quasi-permanent austerity in the Eurozone is the inevitable consequence of its monetary architecture, and it will remain a long-term feature of Europe, unless significant institutional changes are put in place to bridge the gap between money and the state.

Date: 2017
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DOI: 10.1080/07360932.2015.1075896

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