Polanyi offers a powerful vision of a “great transformation” that will reverse the subordination of society to the economy and reassert the primacy of social protection in the context of modern society. Pursuit of the great transformation is one way of conceptualizing the quest for “development” in the positive sense of ecologically sustainable human flourishing. This paper explores how the contemporary interaction of national and global political dynamics affects the trajectory of Polanyi's “double movement.” Does the shift of economic power to globally organized capital while the space for contentious politics remains primarily at the national level “checkmate” the movement for social protection? Or is there more potential for political contestation and policies supporting social protection at the national level than the “global checkmate” thesis claims? And, if so, can this potential be magnified by productive, synergistic alliances between national and global movements, resulting in a global auxiliary effect instead of a global checkmate effect? Answering these questions requires analyzing the relative autonomy of national political regimes vis-à-vis global capital as well as evaluating the ability of movements to connect effectively across levels.
- double movement
- social protection
- great transformation
- transnational social movements
- global capital
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