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Climate change, globalization and a new wave of technological progress has triggered discourses in which the idea of a great transformation gains ground. Sometimes they are supported by the conjecture that the era of “moderate” scarcity is over, the new era being characterized by a combination of ecological bottlenecks on the one side and the nonrival world of the knowledge economy on the other. In this note, some ideas pertinent to the theoretical background of different phenomena of more or less encompassing change are considered. Inter alia, I discuss the reason why a great transformation is more than a cluster of reforms and also more than a mere transition between regimes. A sufficiently clear and specific conception of a great transformation not only yields a convenient shorthand term for comprehensive change, but also may contribute to asking the right questions regarding theoretical challenges and practical difficulties associated with comprehensive change.

in: Held, M./Kubon-Gilke, G./Sturn, R. (Hg.), Politische Ökonomik großer Transformationen. Normative und institutionelle Grundfragen der Ökonomik, Jahrbuch 15, Metropolis–Verlag, Marburg/Lahn 2016, 13-33.

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