Comments on Schaniel and Neale's Comments on Hamilton

By Hamilton, David | Journal of Economic Issues, September 1994 | Go to article overview

Comments on Schaniel and Neale's Comments on Hamilton


Hamilton, David, Journal of Economic Issues


As one never particularly apt at scholarly disputation, especially that which takes place in the backs of journals, my first inclination was to pass on the offer to comment on the Schaniel/Neale objections to my interpretation of Polanyi. I much prefer to cut and run. But then, since they have been offered in good spirit and in an effort to straighten out an errant interpretation of Karl Polanyi, I thought it only a mark of civilized behavior to acknowledge that they have been made.

The casual reader of these interchanges might get the impression that the source of the disputation was a paper devoted to an exposition of the economic and anthropological analysis of Karl Polanyi. But that, of course, was not the case. If in presenting the major thrust of the paper under discussion I have twisted the meanings of the excellent work of Polanyi, I stand corrected.

And that correction is accepted in good spirit because, in my reading of the work of Polanyi, it was always with at least two cheers. I thought that he was most certainly onto something-the significance of anthropology for contemporary economic analysis. We as economists have far more to learn from anthropology than do anthropologists from economics. As a matter of fact, when anthropologists from the capitalist world apply formal economic market analysis to so-called primitive peoples, they would seem to me to be extremely ethnocentric. We are, after all, dealing with human behavior, not with atoms. Any set of principles that is so universal that it covers all forms of a changing and disparate human behavior is so general as to be synonymous with what we are trying to explain. It is simply another word for human behavior. This error Polanyi most certainly did not commit.

However, I must defer to my critics in their interpretation of Polanyi. In this case, I think we may be more in agreement than at first might appear. I too agree that Polanyi did not perceive reciprocity as characterizing our market society. That is the source of my consternation. The market economy seems to me to be a huge example of reciprocity in action. And conventional economic theory seems bell-bent on demonstrating in a case of total equilibrium that all reciprocal obligations would be met. The great virtue of the market, in the eyes of the enamored theorist, is that it does indeed meet all the demands of reciprocity. People receive satisfactions from consumption exactly equivalent to the blood, sweat, and tears they have expended in production. It is equational (reciprocal?) justice on a grand scale. As I first read The Great Transformation, rather belatedly somewhere about 1957, I thought, having the benefit of previously having read Mike Wagner's The Theory of Economic Equilibrium: A Reflection of Social Reciprocity, that Polanyi was going to confirm Wagner [1953]. And whether it was at Speenhamland Tavern or not too long thereafter, the market replaced reciprocity, and I was sorely disappointed.

It seems to me that the concept of reciprocity, as found in the work of Malinowski and Mauss, has really two meanings: a ceremonial and a technological one [Malinowski 1950; Mauss 1954!. In a sense, the first of these-the ceremonial-simulates the technological reality. It is perhaps a cliche to note our technological interdependence, although I doubt that all of those who readily view it as a cliche are cognizant of its full meaning. One can note technological interdependence and assume that it means nothing more than that we all do different things or, perhaps, only one another's wash. But technological interdependence is what I take Veblen to have meant when he referred to the life process. It is most certainly implicit in Oakley's concept of "man the tool maker" and Gordon Childe's notion that "man makes himself' [Oakley 1957; Childe 1951!.

Technologically we are all related interdependently. This holds true for all societies. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Comments on Schaniel and Neale's Comments on Hamilton
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.