Profile Major Works Resources

Michael Polanyi, 1891-1976.

Chemist and philosopher, the Hungarian-born Michael Polanyi had a more stable career and a different political leaning that his radical older brother, the economic historian Karl Polanyi.  After a promising early career as a   physical chemist in Berlin,  Polanyi was dismissed by the Hitler regime and moved on to the University of Manchester and, later, Oxford

It was during his stay in England that Michael Polanyi began moving away from science and towards economics, politics and philosophy.  A classical liberal, Michael Polanyi  followed the development of the Keynesian Revolution and wrote several pieces on Keynesian economics (e.g. 1944, 1945) and on the economics and politics of Soviet planning (e.g. 1935, 1938, 1940, 1948).  It is particular noticeable that Polanyi's recommendations on policy are clearly in the Keynesian line -- although he argued that private investment needed primarily government monetary, not fiscal, stimulus.  However much a Keynesian, Polanyi was an implacable opponent of planning in general and the Soviet system in particular.  In the post-war era, he moved away from economics and more deeply into his influential libertarian political writings (e.g. 1950) and the philosophy of knowledge (1946, 1958, 1968).



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Major Works of Michael Polanyi

  • U.S.S.R. Economics: Fundamental data, system and spirit, 1936
  • "Reflections on Marxism", 1938
  • Collectivist Planning, 1940
  • The Contempt of Freedom, 1940
  • Principles of Economic Expansion, 1944
  • Full Employment and Free Trade, 1945.
  • Science, Faith and Society, 1946.
  • Soviets and Capitalism, 1948.
  • The Logic of Liberty: Reflections and rejoinders, 1950
  • Personal Knowledge: Towards a post-critical philosophy, 1958
  • The Study of Man, 1959
  • The Tacit Dimension, 1966.
  • Knowing and Being, 1969
  • Scientific Thought and Social Reality, 1974
  • Meaning, with H. Prosch, 1975




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Resources on Michael Polanyi


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