Kari Polanyi Levitt, Emerita Professor of Economics at McGill University, is a legend in the economics profession, famous for her contributions to economic development and economic sovereignty. But she has also had a legendary life: the only child of the influential political economist Karl Polanyi, Kari’s research has carried her from the London Blitz to the Canadian labor movement to the government of Trinidad and Tobago.
Share your perspective
Kari Polanyi Levitt
The only child of Karl Polanyi and Ilona Duczynska, her life is nothing short of legendary. After childhood in Red Vienna, she studied and worked with some of the most important economists of the twentieth century, such as Nicholas Kaldor and W. Arthur Lewis. She has been a pioneer of structuralist developmental studies and economic planning, as well as the modelling of development in the Caribbean. She is a key intellectual figure of the postwar social democratic movement in Canada with her opposition to rampant globalization and excessive financialization controlled by the activities of transnational corporations. In this series, she reflects on her remarkable life and the extraordinary legacy of her family.
This series of interviews were organized and conducted by Mario Seccareccia, Professor Emeritus of Economics of the University of Ottawa, on July 18, 2019, at the her home in Montreal. Mario Seccareccia has known Kari Polanyi Levitt for half a century when he first took courses with her beginning in the 1971-72 academic year while still in his third year of undergraduate studies at McGill University, where he eventually completed his PhD.