The Shift from Traditional Societies to a Market Society

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Material and ideological conditions are integral components of a market society, which interacted and changed the ways we view market society today. I will discuss the shift from traditional societies to a market society to explain what Polanyi refers to as “the great transformation”. I will then talk about the changes that have occurred in the workplace, the impact on these workers, and the worldview of those in a market society.
According to Polanyi, a market economy becomes a market society when all land, labour and capital are commodified (Polanyi, 1957). A market society is a structure, which primarily focuses on the production and distribution of commodities and services. This takes place through a free market system, which allows the opportunity for individuals to engage themselves in the market place, through trucking, bartering or exchanging. Polanyi’s fundamental idea of a market society is that all social relations are rooted in the economy as opposed to the economy being submerged in social relations.
The emergence of market society is what Polanyi refers to as “the great transformation” (Polanyi, 1957). This great transformation is significant when discussing market society, as it is a transformation of all society. It brought forth change in the organization of the market system, and therefore society due to its efficiency in production, distribution and commodification of labour, land and money. Many changes took place with the emergence of market society, especially in relation to labour, or the work of people.

Previously, before market society, production and distribution was accomplished by following a traditional system, involving the tasks being passed down by generations. Heilbroner (1993) explains this ...

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...hown to be a fundamental socioeconomic transformation. My paper has shown many aspects of the market society, by using a number of theorists’ concepts. I focused on the characteristics of a market society, as well as why this transformation from traditional society was so significant. I also discussed the changes that have taken place in the workplace and the impact on the workers, which these material conditions became apparent throughout time. Lastly, I explained Weber’s idea of “economic rationality” and the worldview of people in a market society, to show how workers rationalized the work they put into the production and distribution of material goods. Generally, this paper’s purpose was to show how the market society has established itself over time, and how both material and ideological conditions interacted and changed the ways we view market society today.
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