Strange title huh. I want to start by saying, as I have heard by some of you say and I quote “this is hard”. Yep, it is! I have to be honest, I am struggling trying to find interest in the topics this semester. I’m struggling hard, and I am also struggling with my NPO so “ugh, this is hard”! The last few books are the first time I have needed to do hardcore research on the book instead of trying to glean understanding from any of the reading. I know Prof. Clark has talked about this, but it’s the first time I’ve needed it and it brings mind the bookstore with all the topics “for Dummies”. I’m not calling myself a dummy, but sometimes I wonder…just kidding.
I bought my book from a used books store in good condition, and here is how it arrived: full of marks and notes. I was hoping so much that it was going to help me glean more information from the inspectory reading, but alas it just confused me more. Almost every page is written on and underlined and all the ways How to take smart notes by Sonke Ahrens, and from whomever I bought this book from might have read that book. It does not make for an easy access for a first time reader. So that was barrier #2, #1 being Economics and #2 this book. Ahh, but such is the life of a doctoral student.
I found online a short, concise essay called “The Summary of the Great Transformation by Polanyi”, on WEA Pedagogy website by Asad Zaman Clever name isn’t it, but either way it helped me understand Karls work and in case any of you need it I thought I’d give you the six point summary in case you need it. Unfortunately I am having trouble telling you where in the book I found it as this article did not cite it’s sources! Here is a quick summary; 1. All Societies face the economic task of producing and providing for all members of society. 2. Market mechanisms for providing goods to members conflict with other social mechanisms and are harmful to society. 3.Unregulated markets are so deadly to human society and environment that creation of markets automatically sets into play movements to protect society and environment from the harm that they cause. 4. Certain ideologies, which relate to land, abour and money, and the profit motive are required for efficient functioning of markets. 5. Markets have been fragile and crisis-prone and have lurched from disater to disaster, as amply illustrated by GFC 2007. 6.Market economies require imposition by violence—either natural or created. 
If you are like me, even summing it down to these 6 points was a challenge, but I will share with you what did help me from this article. Perhaps me not understanding Polanyi’s work has to do with my framework. Asad Zaman states in his blog summary above “A major obstacle to understanding Polanyi is the fact that living in a market society shapes our mindsets and behaviours, making it difficult to imagine radical alternatives. Understanding Polanyi requires standing outside the streams of history which have shaped mondern societies”.  This stood out to me in my life experiences. When trying to help a church from closing it’s door, we had a consultant who came in and encouraged us to take a balcony view. He used the church building as a way to embody this practice. The consultant told us how hard it is to see everything happening in a situation to truly see what is happening and see where we came from where we are and where we are going and to do this all at once, the best way is to go to the balcony for the view. Zaman noted in his article that the only way to understand our economy is to “stand outside the streams of history which have shaped mondern societies”.
All of this to say, that our readings of The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism by Weber, and this book, The Great Transformation by Polanyi are giving us a balcony view. If we are to lead, whether it is within a church or outside of the church, we need to do as these great authors did, step back or climb the stairs and get out the frey and see from outside what is happening and how to lead forward.
May we all (even if we have to utilize the “for dummies” approach) to speak into our areas of call from the balcony!