Kari Polanyi-Levitt

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kari Polanyi-Levitt (born June 14, 1923 in Vienna ) is an Austrian-Canadian economist and professor emeritus at McGill University in Montreal , specializing in development economics . She has lived in Canada since 1947. She is the administrator of the work of her father, the economic historian Karl Polanyi .

life and work

Kari Polanyi is the only child of Ilona Duczyńska and Karl Polanyi . From 1924 to 1933 the family lived at Vorgartenstraße 203 in the second district of Vienna . By his own account, Kari Polanyi had a happy childhood in a “socialist household”. The Red Vienna have coined them. Under Austrofascism , her father lost his job with the daily newspaper Der Österreichische Volkswirt due to his Jewish origins and emigrated to Great Britain in November 1933. In March 1934, his mother sent the eleven-year-old to him in London and followed two years later.

During the Second World War , Kari Polanyi studied statistics at the London School of Economics and Political Science . She worked in labor research for a UK trade union in Cambridge and London before receiving a Bachelor of Science degree with honors in 1946. In London she met the Canadian historian Joseph Levitt. In 1947 she emigrated to Canada and married him in Toronto in 1950. After the birth of two sons, she continued her studies and in 1959 earned a Masters in Economics from the University of Toronto .

From 1960 she taught at the economics faculty at McGill University. She devoted her research and publication activities to questions of economic development. Her work on the role of multinational companies and the conditions of economic development in the Caribbean has gained international recognition . In her 1970 book Silent Surrender she warns of the consequences of the influence of transnational corporations on sovereign states. It is considered a standard work and has been published several times. A French edition, La Capitulation Tranquille , appeared in 1972 with an introduction by Jacques Parizeau . She was visiting professor at the Institute for International Relations in Trinidad and Tobago and after her retirement she taught political economy from 1995 to 1997 with a George Beckford professorship at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica .

After her mother's death in 1978, Kari Polanyi-Levitt took over the administration of her father's economic heritage. In 2005 she published the third volume of the Chronicle of the Great Transformation with his articles and essays from the years 1920 to 1945, in which he formulated the basic ideas of his major work Great Transformation from 1944. It describes the collapse of civilization and capitalism in the 19th century and how fascist governments formed in Europe in response to increasing market pressure as a result of deregulation in the 1920s and 30s. According to Kari Polanyi-Levitt, there are parallels to this historical development with the globalization of the present and the rise of right-wing populism .


Kari Polanyi-Levitt is an Honorary Doctor of the University of the West Indies and Honorary President of the Karl Polanyi Institute for Political Economy at Concordia University and Honorary President of the International Karl Polanyi Society. She was awarded the John Kenneth Galbraith Prize from the Progressive Economics Forum of Canada. In 2014 she was awarded the Order of Canada for her multidisciplinary research in international development as well as her research on the political economy of the Caribbean. In May 2018 she received the Golden Merit Award of the State of Vienna in recognition of her scientific life's work.

Fonts (selection)

  • Silent surrender. The Multinational Corporation in Canada , Macmillan Company of Canada, Toronto 1970. Launched in 2003 with a new introduction.
  • The Life and Work of Karl Polanyi (Critical Perspectives on Historic Issues) , Montreal / New York 1990, as paperback 1996
  • Essays on the Theory of Plantation Economy. A Historical And Institutional Approach to Caribbean Economic Development . With Lloyd Best, University of the West Indies Press, Jamaica 2009
  • From the Great Transformation to the Great Financialization. On Karl Polanyi and Other Essays , The University of Chicago Press, 2013


  • Karl Polanyi: Chronicle of the Great Transformation. Articles and essays (1920-1945). Volume 3: Human freedom, political democracy and the conflict between socialism and fascism . Edited by Michele Cangiani, Kari Polanyi-Levitt and Claus Thomasberger. Metropolis Verlag, Marburg 2005, ISBN 9783895184765

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Economist Polanyi Levitt: "Today the world is ominously chaotic" . Interview by Tanja Traxler, Der Standard, January 17, 2017
  2. a b Der Vordenker from Vorgartenstraße , interview with Kari Polanyi-Levitt by Lukas Wieselberg, science.ORF.at, February 21, 2017
  3. Kari Polanyi Levitt, UN Chronicle
  4. Review note in Perlentaucher
  5. ^ Board . International Karl Polanyi Society. Retrieved July 19, 2019.