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William Davies

In: The SAGE Handbook of Neoliberalism

Chapter 21: The Neoliberal State: Power Against ‘Politics'

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The Neoliberal State: Power Against ‘Politics'
The Neoliberal State: Power Against ‘Politics'
William Davies

In his landmark critique of Victorian laissez-faire ideology and its consequences, The Great Transformation (1944), Karl Polanyi argued that ‘a belief in spontaneous progress must make us blind to the role of government in economic life’ (1957 [1944]: 37). This blindness could only be sustained, Polanyi reasoned, thanks to ‘the institutional separation of society into an economic and political sphere’ (1957 [1944]: 71). This notion of market and state as separate domains, operating according to different logics, is at the heart of the liberal vision of freedom. The question is whether it represents some underlying ontological reality, namely that market and state are independent of each other, ...

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