Distributor:  Icarus Films
Length:  53 minutes
Date:  2015
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English; French
Color/BW:  Color
Closed captioning available
Interactive transcript available
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Karl Polanyi, The Human Factor

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An exploration of the life and work of Karl Polanyi, who sought to reintegrate society and economy. Could the commodification of labor and money ultimately be as disastrous as floods, drought and earthquakes?

Karl Polanyi, The Human Factor

'The economy is important but it cannot override and colonize, if you wish, all other aspects of our social life and our society.' - Economist Kari Polanyi Levitt

Karl Polanyi's life's work was to reintegrate society and economy - with the latter serving the former.

Taking us on a journey from ancient Sumeria to the towers of Frankfurt, this episode of CAPITALISM argues that commercial transactions have always been embedded in social norms, and that a self-regulating market economy is in no way a natural state of human affairs. The thought of political economist Karl Polanyi, author of The Great Transformation , is central to this exploration.

Polanyi said that industrialization and the first wave of globalized economy had led to labor, money and nature being treated like commodities, with potentially disastrous results - the kind being played out on the streets of Athens, where unemployment is over 20%, neo-fascism is on the rise, and rioters face down police over harsh austerity measures that benefit foreign bankers.

Debt levels around the world are rising, and the webs of who owns whose debt are becoming ever more complex. Could the commodification of money ultimately be as disastrous - both for individuals and businesses - as floods, drought and earthquakes?

Featuring economist Kari Polanyi Levitt, political economist Abraham Rotstein, former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer, and former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, among others.

"A captivating epic... a major contribution to economic and social reflection." —Le Monde (France)

 

"Brings clarity to confusion, makes complexities accessible, and produces a clear narrative of a system that seems opaque to most people." —Journal du Dimanche (France)

 

"Masterly... is going to revolutionize our vision of the economic world." —La Vie (France)

 

"In first look CAPITALISM seems like the economics class you should have skipped.... but in a second look CAPITALISM is the seminar that you must take in the second semester ... the point of view is very different and surprising, the result is an impressive, visually rich series.” —Israel HaYom (Israel)

 

"Should not be missed! Combines highly educational explanations of concepts, economic history and contemporary life, to create a series of documentaries, each of which it is difficult to stop watching!" —Alternatives Economiques (France)

 

"10 Stars! A truly captivating series that delves into history, philosophy, investigates four corners of the planet, and stimulates the viewer with a re-examination of the basic concepts that define our lives." —Globes (Israel)

 

The series was chosen as one of the ten best programs in France in 2014.

Citation

Main credits

Clarke, George T. (narrator)
Ziv, Ilan (film director)
Ziv, Ilan (film producer)
Ziv, Ilan (screenwriter)
Nahon, Bruno (screenwriter)
Nahon, Bruno (film producer)
Cadieux, Paul (film producer)

Other credits

Director of photography, Phillipe, Bellaiche; editor, David Le Guerrier; original music, Robert-Marcel Lepage.


Distributor credits

By Ilan Ziv

Docuseek2 subjects

Capitalism
Business Ethics
Economics
Sociology
Western Europe
Globalization
Historiography
World History
Labor Studies
Philosophy, Critical Thinking and Ethics
Politics and Political Science
Political Philosophy

Distributor subjects

Business
Business Ethics
Business and Economics
Economics
Economic Sociology
Europe (West)
Globalization
Historiography
History (World)
Labor Studies
Philosophy
Political Science
Political Theory
Politics
Sociology

Keywords

; "Episode 6"; Icarus Films; capitalism

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