RG

IN CONTEXT

FOCUS

Society and the economy

KEY THINKER

Karl Polanyi (1886–1964)

BEFORE

1776 In The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith argues that man has a natural tendency to trade and barter for profit.

1915 Polish anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski describes the kula system of the Trobriand Islands.

1923 French sociologist Marcel Mauss publishes The Gift, a study of gift-giving in traditional societies.

AFTER

1977 US economist Douglass North argues that Trobriander behavior can be explained using economics.

1990s Israeli economist Avner Offer shows that non-economic behavior plays an important role in modern economies.

Economists believe that people are rational, ...

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