Human nature


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[W]hile they ended up proposing vastly different ways to organize society, Marxism and capitalism were both based on the idea that human beings are driven essentially by economic or material urges. In boths ystems, Homo Economicus was the central character.

Polanyi rejected this concept that humans are basically prisoners of their economic motives. Yes, the human body has certain basic physical needs, and meeting these needs is of paramount importance to all humans. But to extend this into a theory that effectively trivializes or diminishes the importance of all other human motivations is to seriously distort the human personality, Polanyi argued. He saw this kind of"economic determinism" as greatly underestimating human potential, and even stripping humans of their essential human quality—their capacity for honour, decency and moral responsibility. To note that humans often fall short in these areas is not to deny that they have the potential.

- Linda McQuaig, All You Can Eat

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