Workshop ‘Questioning the Utopian Springs of Market Economy’

From 15 August, 2014 to 16 August, 2014
Whole day

One of the initiatives that Professor Adam David Morton has been shaping with colleagues in the Department of Political Economy at the University of Sydney, specifically Dr Damien Cahill and Dr Martijn Konings, is the launch of an international workshop in 2014 focusing on both Karl Polanyi and Friedrich Hayek. This is the first of a series of new initiatives in political economy at the University of Sydney including a new Lectureship appointment in Political Economy. That development is to come shortly. For now, though, why hold a workshop on the work of both Karl Polanyi and Friedrich Hayek in 2014?

 The initiative for this workshop stems from the seventieth anniversary, falling in 2014, of the publication of two seminal political economy texts written respectively by Karl Polanyi and Friedrich Hayek. In 1944 both Karl Polanyi’s The Great Transformation and Friedrich Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom were published, delineating very different pathways to the utopian springs constituting and challenging market economy.

For Polanyi, the utopian springs of the dogma of liberalism existed within the extension of the market mechanism to the ‘fictitious commodities’ of land, labour, and money. There was nothing natural about laissez-faire. The progress of the utopia of a self-regulating market was backed by the state and checked by a double movement, which attempted to subordinate the laws of the market to the substance of human society through principles of self-protection, legislative intervention, and regulation.

For Hayek, the utopia of freedom was threatened by the abandonment of individualism and classical liberalism. The tyranny of government interventionism led to the loss of freedom, the creation of an oppressive society, and the despotism of dictatorship that led to the serfdom of the individual. Economic planning in the form of socialism and fascism had commonalities that stifled individual freedom. Against the power of the state, the guiding principle of the policy of freedom for the individual was advocated.

The purpose of this workshop is to revisit these magnetic poles of political economy as a compass for questioning today’s market economy in the twenty-first century. The workshop will be hosted by the Department of Political Economy at the University of Sydney with funding from various sources including the Department of Political Economy itself and the Department of Sociology and Social Policy (with thanks to Professor Stephen Castles) as well as the School of Social and Political Sciences and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences within the University of Sydney.

The workshop will be held 15-16 August 2014 in Sydney with Professor Sandra Halperin (Royal Holloway University of London), Dr. Gareth Dale (Brunel University), and Professor Philip Mirowski (University of Notre Dame), all confirmed as keynote plenary speakers. Registration is now open by clicking on the link: HERE. The aim is to publish the papers from the workshop as peer-reviewed articles in a special issue/section of a forefront journal of political economy and then subsequently as an expanded edited volume.

We look forward to welcoming you at the University of Sydney!

 Click here to download the workshop programme.


Location: History Room S223, Quadrangle

Associated Keywords