The great sentence
I’m taking an economic history course focused on Karl Polanyi, especially The Great Transformation. Last class, my professor implied that it was a dense, tough text, so I had myself steeled for an evening of endurance reading. It turns out that Polanyi is a joy – this man has a sense of rhythm. This is from the first chapter:
While in the first part of the century constitutionalism was banned and the Holy Alliance suppressed freedom in the name of peace, during the other half – and again in the name of peace – constitutions were foisted upon turbulent despots by business-minded bankers. Thus under varying forms and ever-shifting ideologies – sometimes in the name of progress and liberty, sometimes by the authority of the throne and the altar, sometimes by grace of the stock exchange and the checkbook, sometimes by corruption and bribery, sometimes by moral argument and enlightened appeal, sometimes by the broadside and the bayonet – one and the same result was attained: peace was preserved.
At times, I wish we still wrote this way, with semicolons and a sense of importance.