ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Towards a 'Human Economy'

An Interview with Keith Hart

Keith Hart is an academic with multifaceted interests. He developed the idea of the "informal economy" and is now working on the "human economy". He has also written on money, the internet, and the European Union. He has an interest in Gandhi as well. This is the text of an interview conducted in his offices at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

Keith Hart ( is International Director of the Human Economy Program at the University of Pretoria (South Africa), and also Centennial Professor of Economic Anthropology at the London School of Economics.

A maverick scholar who was the first to define and identify the “informal economy”, Keith Hart is now developing a perspective on the “human economy”. The term has the potential to go beyond rigid theoretical frameworks on economic practices and provide an interdisciplinary approach to understanding how complex and plural economies are embedded in a variety of societies. Having been trained in the classics (Greek and Latin) at the University of Cambridge, he now rereads Kant for our times and considers subjectivity to be central to human history. A prolific writer, his commentaries on varied topics such as the rise of the internet, the role of land reforms and the future of the European Union complement his seminal volumes on money, the human economy, and the market.

An institution builder, Keith Hart founded the “Open Anthropology Cooperative”, a web-based anthropological discussion forum, set up “Prickly Pear Press” and is currently establishing an international research programme on human economy at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Hart financed his higher education by betting on horses and is passionately engaged with sports, especially cricket. His work should interest Indian scholars since it seeks to understand diverse economic conditions and practices and highlights the intertwining of economic, sociocultural and political factors. In addition to being International Director of the Human Economy Program at the University of Pretoria (South Africa), Keith Hart is also Centennial Professor of Economic Anthropology at the London School of Economics. He has also taught in universities at Cambridge, Manchester, Yale, Michigan, Chicago, McGill, Northwestern, and Goldsmiths (London).

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