DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Economic Evolution

Written by: on February 1, 2015

The Economic Evolution

January 31st 2015

While at time the details in The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of our Time got a little cumbersome it was interesting to read how economical institutions flourished and survived. Looking at the way power and countries came together and how society internationally bonded was interesting. While it is hard for me to even try to comment on the majority of my reading because Polanyi is really thorough on all of his stuff, I will touch on a couple of areas I found rather interesting. First of all the way countries and nations formed economic ties was amazing. The power of the Catholic Church was interesting as was the power of the Jewish dollar. It was most amazing to me to see how many wars and how many issues occurred during the 19th and 20th Century to pave the way for the economic systems of today.

Polanyi’s thoughts on the economic system, “Polanyi starts by emphasizing that the entire tradition of modern economic thought, continuing up to the present moment, rests on the concept of the economy as an interlocking system of markets that automatically adjusts supply and demand through the price mechanism.”[1]

While I have never study economics this statement sheds light on why the economy adjust and why how well a market is doing is so important. So much is ingrained in why prices change and its important to know how the world is involved in those changes. Polanyi really introduced the world stage and I how it is interwoven in markets and the availability of products.

On another note Polanyi dealt with some issues I deal with in the church. Some church leaders think people are furniture and will actually give preference to the highest tithe payer and this concept has come from an ideology I believe Polanyi alluded to. This is how human institution like to think of people and even the church at times, “There are two levels to Polanyi’s argument. The first is a moral argument that it is simply wrong to treat nature and human beings as objects whose price will be determined entirely by the market. Such a concept violates the principles that have governed societies for centuries: nature and human life have almost always been recognized as having a sacred dimension.”[2] While he is dealing with other issues I think this speak volumes about people when they dong realize that people have as he said, “a sacred dimension.” I have been put in positions where leaders devalued you because you could not meet their financial requirement on a regular basis. Polanyi is dealing with the marked I know but it seems like people can actually but you on the market.

The final thing that really intrigued me was something that I believe is still subtle and a lot of times it comes in the guise of peace. Polanyi used a term, haute finance.

“How haute finance ruled and how it functioned had more to deal with power tean peace in the 19th and 20th Century-Haute finance was not designed as an instrument of peace; this function fell to it by accident, as historians would say, while the sociologist might prefer to call it the law of availability. The motive of haute finance was gain; to attain it, it was necessary to keep in with the governments whose end was power and conquest.” [3] As I look at this word I can say that the one percent of America who have all the money function not from the position of peace but of gain. And to me they are all about getting richer and gaining more power. I know that this is the nature of the beast but it does not help and I think that the pride of the one percent of the rich is never going to trickle down to nothing.


[1]            Karl Polanyi (2001-03-28). The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time. Beacon Press. Kindle Edition.

[2]            Karl Polanyi (2001-03-28). The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time. Beacon Press. Kindle Edition.

[3]             Karl Polanyi (2001-03-28). The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time (pp. 11-12). Beacon Press. Kindle Edition.



About the Author


Travis Biglow

Pastor of Victory Empowerment Center. Regional Chaplain High Desert Regional Center Graduates Azusa Pacific University. Licensed General Contractor B. I am the married with one daughter, two grandsons and one step son.

4 responses to “Economic Evolution”

  1. mm Dave Young says:


    Thanks for your post. Your comment that some church leaders treat people as a commodity, or as furniture is a horrific insight. Objectifying people is the beginning of abuse and violence. In Nazi germany the Jewish people were treated as less than human. A rapist looks upon a woman as a thing to be used. God forbid we ever look at beautiful humans as anything less than God’s children. Thanks brother for reminding us of this.

    • mm Brian Yost says:

      Dave & Travis,
      It is interesting to watch a new person come to know Christ and start attending a local church. When the person is a well known “important” person in the community, people get really excited about what God is doing. When the person brings a lot of baggage with them and could taint the image of the church, the church often becomes less excited about what God is doing and may even look for ways to get the new Christian connect with a church that would “be a better fit”.

  2. Travis Biglow says:


    So true we know the atrocities that happen when people are treated less that humans. Its is my prayer that churches get back to the book of Acts and where they had things common and helped each other as everyone had need. I dont think God asks us to do what we cant do i think he asks us to do what we can do! Blessings Dave!!!!

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