The Idea of “Fictitious Commodities,” the Cornerstone of Karl Polanyi’s Institutionalism

The notion of “fictitious commodities” is not simply a convenient heterodox slogan to criticize the radical limits of any trade system and the analytical limits of the dominant theory. It is rather the foundation of the institutional perspectives that underlie all Karl Polanyi’s sociohistoric analyses. This article explains and articulates both the theoretical level using the institutional approach to commodities and a philosophical level using a broad definition of the economy. There is, however, a limit to the notion of the institution, which connects both levels: it is not articulated practically such that the potential and critique of this construct may be weakened.

Hayek in Japan: The reception of a neoliberal thought

The modernization of Japan has been taking place since the last half of the nineteenth century: paradoxically enough, elements of Japan’s geography and culture may explain this evolution. Even though very few Japanese economists would call themselves “liberal,” Hayek’s writings had a large audience. The heir to the Austrian school of economic thought, who was pro-free trade and a supporter of individual liberties has been fully translated (twice in fact, see references of Complete Works, at the end of this essay) thus illustrating his influence in academia, public service, and politics (on economic policies). Hayek anchored his views in those of the early Marginalist Austrian founder Menger (1840-1921), whose archives are also to be found in Japan. The encounter of Austrian thought and the far-away land may create a stir. In order to understand the extraordinary impact that the thought of Friedrich Hayek had, philosophical and epistemological traits are examined in this paper, along with attempts to make sense of this striking occurrence.

Environmentalism, a critique of capitalism? The conventional French school of thought and environmental risk

Conventionalist environmental thought faces a central problem: the absence of an environmental order of magnitude that obeys the same rules as the six others. This article suggests a way of overcoming this problem: considering environmentalism, not as the ideal model of society, but as a critique of capitalism. In this perspective, the theoretical foundations and the historical effectiveness of the environmental critique of capitalism are analyzed.