Polanyi characterizes the shift to market capitalism by arguing that individuals act upon more maximizing strategies in which they are driven by profit-based gains rather than the subsistence strategies of feudal England. Based upon this, he highlights how the market creates a sense of scarcity as a way of sanctioning workers to meet particular arbitrary demands predicated upon consumptive needs, which are determined by an unstable market.
Reflecting upon this, Sahlins argues that hunter-gathering communities are the original affluent society because of their accumulation strategies, which allow for increased material gain that is immediate, yet their work patterns allow them to spend less time seeking out these materials. With that being said, many have questioned Sahlins's original premise, accusing him of a failure to seriously grapple with the scarce resources many hunter-gatherers must face.
Sahlins is usually grouped as being in line with Polanyi and his substantivist school of economic anthropology, but could Sahlins be also acting against this school through noting that hunter-gatherers are maximizing agents, a trait that Polanyi does not ascribe to so-called romanticized 'primitive' societies?
(I've cross-posted this to the OAC Forum in order to widely circulate it and receive more feedback! Thank you for any ideas!)