Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Equal or nahhh…

Written by: on April 26, 2023

The Great Transformation

As we sit back and watch the economy change from year to year, one can’t help but wonder what the driving force is. There is constant talk of recession and prices are soaring in every industry. Who or what controls these changes? Some of the answers may become evident in what Polanyi explains in his writing. The Great Transformation is Polanyi’s explanation of what happened during the rise of the market economy. Within Polanyi’s writing, he talks about embeddedness. He argues that “the economy is not autonomous as it must be in economic theory, but subordinated to politics, religion, and social relations”[1].

Knoco says that there are 4 types of embeddedness in-network practice:

  • Organizational embeddedness: the extent to which the knowledge shared in the network is relevant for and integrated into the formal organization.
  •  Embeddedness in practice: the extent to which the knowledge shared in the network is relevant for and integrated into the dispersed, local practices of network members.
  •  Relational embeddedness: the extent to which the network is characterized by strong social ties and elements such as trust, mutual expectations, and identification.
  • Structural embeddedness: the extent to which network members are connected to one another and know who knows what and how to reach them.

In relational embeddedness, different relationships among social networks influence how the economy will run. Their status or other social relationships gives them the power to make decisions for people without any say. This in turn creates problems for those not in power, particularly the poor. Economics is not really my strong suit and I don’t understand half the stuff that is talked about. I do know fairness though. When I say fairness I hear a famous preacher saying “Favor ain’t Fair” and neither is the control of the economy based on a social status. Do I know how to fix it, no I do not?

In a perfect world I just believe that we should take care of each other. In the Bible the Lord asked Cain “Where is Abel, thy brother? And he said: I know not. Am I my brother’s keeper?” The Lord answered that he was his brothers keeper. He wanted us to take care of each other and to help our brothers. He did not say to Cain form a network of your friends and control how your brothers and the others you care not about operate. I could go on but the truth is the Bible teaches how to have the best life but in greed we have chosen not to listen. We have made up our own rules. We divided into subgroups. We have attempted to dominate each other. We have not chosen to be our brother’s keeper. We have become a selfish society, so the economy is up and down all of the time. We are worried, anxious, and depressed because of our own behavior.

[1] Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time, 2nd ed. (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2001).

2. http://www.nickmilton.com/2012/11/4-types-of-embeddedness-in-networks-of.html#ixzz7v3gBgNqw



About the Author


Shonell Dillon

A daughter of the KING of kings and the LORD of lords. A lover of LIFE!

2 responses to “Equal or nahhh…”

  1. Michael O'Neill says:

    Great post, Shonell. I always struggled with the Gen 4 story from Cain’s perspective. God didn’t shun Cain, he coached him even though his offering wasn’t pleasing. He encouraged him to do well and rule over sin. Then the next line, Cain’s like “Nahhhh,” I’ll just kill him instead of listening to God. This is crazy to me but a great example of sin, envy, jealousy, you name it… I don’t recall God confirming we are our brother’s keepers in this instance but that doesn’t change the point or make it less applicable. We do need to look after each other and we are one body in Christ. If everyone in today’s fast-paced society would just chill out a few small degrees, the world would be so much better. God wants to coach us just and warn us, just like he did for Cain. We need to recognize the sin and “rule over it.”

    Thanks for the great post. Have a great summer.

  2. Shonell, you talk about the behaviors that we have as a society and the effects that has had on the our mental health. I wonder how we stop this cycle? How can the church engage?

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