Abraham Rotstein, Weekend Notes XIX

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Weekend Notes (Overview)

Freedom and Technology (11)

[24] The peculiar thing about Fromm is he never got beyond The Great Transformation. (These were strongly Marxist ideas.)

He is definitely pre-sputnik and what we are saying is post-sputnik. We must make it clear that this is not the reorganization of society we are talking about.

What is freedom? It is the fear of eternal death. Others say that it is the hope of eternal life and people differ on what that means but they don't differ on what eternal death means. Whether they say integrity or conscience it is the same thing. This fear and its corresponding hope is hat freedom is. This has a f[e]ar and hope, and is meaningless if it is not a condition that we are in.

P. makes the test point that we are not safe in compelling others without limit. We know in a sense that we just don't have it. This fact disintegrates any conceivable value system under which we could live.

The reason is the entrance of the machine to the tissue of society which causes more and more horrible interventions into human life.

The fact that our existence is precarious doesn't lie with the condition that the world will explode but in the series of dangers at disconnected points, and of an unexpected character. These have been turning up ever since society has become industrial.

[25] With the freedoms, although we want them we don't have them. How does this come about? There is a disintegration of our value system and some values become absolutes which is a negation of the reality of society.

The moral values of every day have less and less connection with basic values. The answer is the lake of recognition of society.

What happens to freedom we don't know, and we just cannot cease living up to the moral requirements everyone knows we are true, i.e., truth, justice and love being valid precepts. They cannot be deduced from logic or science.

This answers the perplexities much more. It is not a blue-print but it gives direction in which to move.

The discovery of society takes us out of the superficial dangers of the market economy (superficial meaning immediate). Society is covered up by the apparent freedom of the market world, but it's supersession a Rousseau paradox which is not solved. How is it possible in a technological society that society survives as well as also the individual's inner life. We still don't know.

Putting it in simpler terms we can use “society”, “inner-freedom” and also “power”, “fear” and the relationship of power to freedoms. We might find more of a connection here: fear generates potential power and we realize that this is a danger to freedom. This is only realized on the freedoms level but not on the freedom level.

[26] An important part is played by the disintegration of the value system. The idolatry of absolutes is quite out of proportion. The value system of everyday life would be of a higher order and we dont have the higher standards which we could because the ultimate values are absolutized. This is a denial of the reality of society.

Efficiency and scientific knowledge are not a safe thing to hold on to in the end. We don't go beyond that - why should we? This is now widespread.

P. thinks that the truth is what we are saying − that in a technological civilization our inner freedom is invalid, is vain. This is something terrible, and unless one makes it quite convincing that this is so, it won't be taken seriously. For some people this will be realized only if it is put in an extreme form, not through an attempt at being plausible.

People think that they are not in a position not to compel others to an extreme. Life and the conditions of life are not of ourselves, but always of others. All the fear and hope condition us at an end. It is no use fearing and hoping because it doesn't depend on us. This is the one thing which is never said at all because it was unreal. Bu tit was unreal until it became real.

For Russia it became real. They had suspected superlative crimes might be necessary under the five year plans. They feared it was but hoped it wasn't.

[27] The whole question of the loss of freedom hinges on "compelled to compel". However, this is only an illustration. Just like Jesus used the illustration that the one with no sins should throw the first stone.

He who says I would refuse to compel others − he has disproved us. Fear is not fear for ourselves but fear for others. We would regard this compulsion as the ultimate evil, because it is the ultimate denial of freedom/ What we mean by freedom is man's hope that he won't lose eternal life. That is why everyone agrees that you can't speak of freedom when you haven't got this possibility.

P. is not bound or excited by this illustration. He uses it most often, but other may be possible.

There are here 6 or 8 concepts and 2 or 3 may be new. One is the way freedom is discussed. Second is the freedom, power, fear triangle. Third is the industrial character of the civilization which makes the whole civilization precarious and not only because of the possibility of immediate destruction. But there are bothers all the time that are unexpected, and continuous troubles are constantly arising ever since the machine entered the tissue of society.

Then this fear, power, freedom context means the irrational rise of power which threatens freedom in this way. The threat to freedom is connected with the elimination of freedom.

[28] At this point there is some lack of definiteness. What it is? P. tends to say that by the non-recognition of a strain it disrupts our value system. Absolutizing some postulates is the same time taking away and preventing a rise or our general moral standards so that ideals means Sunday behaviour instead of a system of values which is understandable. We have the polarity of the material and ideal. Man doesn't live in such a dirremption at all.

This takes us to the market economy but it isn't what it hinges on, otherwise Russia would appear to be safe from the common danger, but it isn't.

And now comes the answer part - the acceptance of the reality of society and seeking the reform of consciousness by seeking maturity through unremitting insistence on human values (partly formulated by Fromm, what he considers human values). P. accepts Fromm's values and finds peculiar that he never took seriously the Christian situation or the essence of a personal religion - the fear of eternal death.

Buddhism has this similar fear or reincarnation. In Jewry it is expressed only in your share in the destruction of the race through breaking God's convenant. It is not a persona factor. But in all other religions it is you who count.

Fromm didn't get this point. He forgets something which didn't become apparent in the Old Testament and Jesus made this [29] point: it is not the crowd who is going to stone her. That's all right, but what about you? What are you going to do? Give your coat to the poor? There is probably the same thing in the Dead Sea Scroll, and Christianity made vast propaganda with theology and paid no heed to the teaching of Christ. Everyone knows in his heart of hearts that these things make for life.

Fromm doesn't see that this is the way mankind is hit. He might say you follow the externalitities of life, not the internal things.

Fromm has a deep analysis but leaves part of the question unanswered − the technological civilizations is not touched upon. Fromm explains what is meant by alienation.

Fromm doesn't speak of freedom but means something what we usually call freedom. (It is very vague but ou meaning has much more than what's usually attached to it.)

Power is needed to organize and it existence doesn't permit the individual to make his life the center of his inner existence.

This widespread concern can only be seemingly rejected in a joking fashion. This is our common world, not with Christian communities only. Not at all. By their nature the Russians are alive to this. It is usually called the dignity of man. They mean that man isn't supposed to be a liar and hypocrite. It doesn't mean to choose between Eatons and Simpson or the C.P.R. and C.N.R. when we talk of a choice.

[30] With Hegel there is the coming up of economic life but there is no intimation of technology.

With Smith it has a pseudo presence. While he discovered the market he didn't discover the machine. But no one ever noticed the market was a significant transformer of society.

So the machine remained undiscovered, but it was Owen who discovered it and he was all about the machine. That was in 1816 and by then Hegel had done more than one half of his life's work and was terrifically impressed by capitalism.

P. doesn't know if he found the machine in Hegel. Hegel didn't miss much. Also Marx to 1844 is the same story.

P. thinks he should follow close to our thesis and keep closely to the machine (technology) and the reality of society. It seems to come up in these early times as "necessity" and later it comes up as "determination", not the denial of free will but that the course of history is laid down ant that limits man's absolute ideals.

Already in Comte there is no history, bu the structure of society under the laws. Therefore sociology was the highest science and the most advanced way in which the limitation of human freedom was formulated.

This is the result of thinking about these matters and P. thinks we make our thesis as narrow as possible - the assertions are specific and definite. The other thing is that P. has been [31] reading so much and is conscious how the subject comes in from all sides, but one doesn't allow that to make one's own position diffuse.

We follow the story of freedom where freedom is seen to exist (German idealism) and technology − which begins with Owen.

Unless you have the Rousseau paradox, you can't relate freedom to something. This can be in the introduction and freedom can be traced to Rousseau, and Kant took this from Rousseau. Technology is Owen. Under the reality of society, one takes necessity as a conter to freedom.

Hegel discovered it because the French Revolution failed and he believed in it. Therefore he thought it was necessity that made it fail and made Napoleon follow on Robespierre.

Marx never relinquished necessity but placed it in the material aspect of society.

It needs a lot of time to see the terms which are most integrative. The point is what to relate freedom to. The R. paradox permits you to deal both with the individual and society primarily from the point of view of freedom. The reform of consciousness emerged.

P. has a lecture which he gave on the emergence of reform of consciousness in 1927 or '29. P. gave this lecture to a small group including Kolnyai, Ernst Karl Winter, and Otto Bauer. Winter wanted to build up an anti-Fascist group in Vienna. P. was interested only on his own ideas.

[32] The essential thing in the reform of consciousness was the acceptance of the reality of society.

P. said that one must think as the right wing and act as the left wing do. Winter said the opposite (He was catholic).

The lecture was called "Reformietes Bewusstsein”. It maintained that first there was conscious religious consciousness and second to take upon oneself the burden of society with unalterable alternatives. Thirdly, the reform of consciousness was not absolute but it is a reform of consciousness which receives in itself the need for compromise as resignation, and turns without any qualification to the reaching of these ideals: "in fascism there is a false resignation – social reality is set as impossible to salve it. Out of this national socialism finds no way out but to attack the basic religious position”.

This is the full circle in which left thought moves: the left is bound to the absolute (unconditional) and being in the false consciousness of fighting against religion and morality. P. is the only one to give the left position true rigor of the unqualified. The left necessarily must formulate a position in an absolute way and take up the position outside of society and claim validity through…

P. got the idea of ineluctable alternatives from Ulysses which he read in 1922 in the 'Westbarstrasse'.[1] This lecture was an advance and gave a more definite subject [33] but we didn't have definite criteria. What are the points we are linking up here to the extent to which we have the reality of society? It was vague bringing in too many different things.

We are here distinguishing three problems, one set by the Rousseau paradox, one set by the market economy and one set by the technology civilization.

The first probably comes into being by something like the birth of modern man e.g., Rousseau's Confessions and the Contrat Social. The paradox is put by his statement “Man is born free and is everywhere in chains.” He has here a postulate of freedom which is the same as individualism and has never been resolved.This therefore we accept in a way as basic and yet there is something which is distinct.

This is the discovery of society which doesn't happen in Rousseau and is the essence of a socialist outlook. It is crucial of capitalism because capitalism covers up society and looks like a realm of freedom. It covers up what underlies it and on the whole socialism consists of the realization of the discovery of society as we call it.

This is enormously strongly expressed in Owen. Society determines the individual's outlook and precipitates this question and catalyzes it. There is no concern with freedom and Owen is the originator if the ideological criticism of freedom. Marx may have taken it from here.

[34] What P. should now follow up is the analysis of society in connection with intimations of its reality? That's called necessity.

If one goes on from Owen to Hegel or Marx one cannot assume a very great interest in the subject. There is a prejudice against Hegel that it is some empty metaphysics. And for Marx that it is just some materialism which has been disproved.

It is not possible to go on as if it was one of the uncontentious subjects. So P. does not yet see the obvious way.

P. wants to avoid being too specific. More hinges on the introduction and the human story of the machine.

Merton agrees that it begins to be quite a concern what surprises mechanisms hold in store.

Fromm works out as a socialist line and he calls it humanistic (?) socialism. Altogether socialism begins to be more important than it was. There is not the slightest interest in socialism in the world.

If one puts the matter with brutal simplicity one can get a great deal of clarity.

This is a peculiar thing, living in two or three worlds and not realizing that they are not separate e. g., the Christian interpretation of freedom and Marx on history is not unrelated. Communism is a Christian heresy. These are not values which are distinct and different. Freedom is to follow in the trail of [35] history. Engels said that if we follow history we are free.

We don't even know whether history itself knows what it will be. There are determinate stretches, elements and patterns but these don't exhaust history. It is full of surprises and we don't know what history will be. According to Marx if I know what the first flight of stairs is then I know what the second will be like.

From our experience if the revelation of the underlying forces no one would suspect the two greatest events of our age. Who know that Germany was Hitler? The two greatest events of our age were Fascism and Bolshevism. Two things took place which were utterly unexpected.

Fascism is the rejection of freedom and Bolshevism is another form of the rejection of freedom. The whole of the 19th century thought there was too much freedom.

If history is the realm of freedom it is not because it is the realm of necessity but because it isn't. Hegel and Marx thought it was necessity.

Also if culture is the realm of freedom it is not because it conforms to necessities of existence but because it doesn't, although it has their imprint.

Of course we have sports because they are needed in an industrial civilization, but the form they take is indeterminate. It is the playfulness which is the essential thing about culture, and there is something similar to culture in history. It is like [36] creativity - art and play and the free patterning in culture. Just watch the flight of the birds and try to explain it by maximizing or minimizing anything.

It is as if you knew that something was a series of forces exploding and you try to describe it as the shortest distance between two points. If you didn't know what happened (that there are forces exploding), you try to make out that its a minimum procedure, but it isn't.

In Christianity there is a dogma that God can't do the impossible (that is the inconceivable or self-contradictory) but the possible he can do.

We should take up the question of the discovery of society and the reality of society. The discovery of society happens to the extent that the market veil is withdrawn. The reality of society is recognized to the extent that necessity (i.e., as opposed to freedom) enters our consciousness.

Hegel wanted strongly to take up the question of necessity. The French Revolution failed and why? Napoleon was an instrument off necessity. Otherwise everything would have got lost. His conservatism reversed everything. By necessity, Hegel meant the reality of society. He was the first to see that there was a society - economic activities which were integrated and he took this from the British.

Marx made a double movement. He moved to reality and discovered [37] in machines the compelling element in the economy which are an ultimate mover in real society and cause change and development. P. follows Landshut, and wonders whether to take Marx and Hegel together. He thinks he will, otherwise he would have to explain Hegel. He can explain him as a sociologist, social psychologist, politician and historian but would not like to explain him as a Hegelian.

It is much easier to deal with the question as the young Hegel and the young Marx (usually called early). Perhaps he will call it Hegel and Marx, and using "young" for both might imply that we are dealing with infants otherwise known as 'Hegel and Marx in the Nursery'.

But in what tone should it be done? It should be as pedestrian as anything. It should not be discussed on the highest level but on the lowest. It gives people a chance to follow. That means to discuss it in terms of the day, but occasionally there will be outbursts of sophistication to give a birds-eye view. But the argument should run pivotally on elementary matters.

We won't have the Utopians - Fourier and Saint Simon, but Owen fits very well.

Engels wrote his “Condition of the Working Class…” in 1844 and when Marx wrote his E.P.M. he didn't know it. There was terrible misery in England and Chartism begins in 1828-38.

[38] P. would forget about his studies on Hegel and Marx etc. and outline our story, otherwise it would be a different book and destroy the book.

Marcuse is very well usable for our outline of Hegel but he didn't know the young Hegel.

Marx (3)

[39] One might take a simple view that Marx saw the positive sides of technological progress and that that alone would continue in socialism.

Marx was fascinated by the machine industry and production. The very idea of production was new and everything was thought of as production. Evolution and the emancipation of man came somewhat later. Feuerbach had emancipation, not individually but collectively. This idea of production also applied to man. This was Owen's insistence on the practical man, the the product of circumstance, and in Fourier man was a product of collective enterprise.

Adams says that by political economy Marx meant being an economist. This is not so and the economy Feuerbach thought of was an exteriorization of human values.

Marx thought that political economy was a sphere of social existence which could be compared to law, religion, social morality. It had to be analyzed philosophically. Business life was a sub-system of society. It consisted both of people acting and the thoughts they were acting on, the idea. There was a convolute of behaviour and principles, like the profit principle in competition and the origin of production. Marx thought the two are inseparable and without the principles of political economy you couldn't have a market economy. This one of the most important ideas of Marx.

At that time Marx thought Feuerbach had created man's image [40] and Marx thought that man created money and it was an objectification of the economic sphere.

Marcuse summing up idealism said the German idealists thought that all qualities of mind exist for freedom - to produce this and this alone. Freedom terminates in the self-assurance of complete appropriation if the mind possesses and knows the world as its property. Otherwise man is not free. The true content of history is the realization of the self-consciousness of freedom. (This is all pure metaphysics and freedom is entirely a meat-structure.)

If Engels said the German working class is the heir to German classical philosophy he meant it was about freedom. Now this concept of freedom is a pure metaphysical construct and therefore consciousness of freedom is a construction.

But this is not really Christian freedom, the care for your salvation of fear of eternal death. Otherwise the modern reader wouldn't understand.

Ultimately, Mary the virgin, is the new Eve − she bears the son of God. Man is conscious and by an act of will raises himself to a higher level of freedom. In Jesus Christ the Saviour this is obscure. But there is some idea of this in Hegel and Marx: consciousness is freedom and the higher consciousness is higher freedom. It has nothing to do with political freedom.

Wetter says that Eve stepped on the head of the serpent and [41] killed it (brute nature). Man is self consciousness and Eve does away with the serpent and a new Eve by an act of fiat bears the son of God, and this is the highest state of freedom which is conceivable.

It is the Hegelian theory that nature is freedom alienated. Therefore in history man becomes conscious of himself, and history ends when man becomes free of all necessity acting out consciously because he knows, etc.

This is what Engels says socialism is, the jump from necessity to freedom and he consciously makes his history.

One must know a great deal to put all this aside and P. doesn't advise me to know it.

Mannheim is greatly troubled in the same way as Rousseau: mankind will only be free if they all want the same thing as society wants and that is possible only if you educate them that way. Hegel says that wisdom and virtue consist of living according to the customs of your people. Margaret Meade says the same - make people wish that they are supposed to want. It is the Rousseau idea again. All these problems revolve around the same terms.

What then happens with freedom? Society is real and a man should comply. Then one can't insist on freedom, otherwise life is not liveable.

Lenin said exactly the same thing as the early Hegel (see quotation in Hegel section). If the volonté de tous cannot transcend [42] the volonté générale but can bring the volonté générale at its best. P.'s idea of limits is the Hegelian idea. It is also like Owens “childish unavailing complaints will cease”.

I begin to see there is not much point in evading a point - but if I don't there may be some point to that.

P. doesn't know what the condition of freedom is but he calls it maturity and this gives a content to maturity.

P. will go into some simple formulation like Marcuse. Marcuse is clear and sound and somehow interested in the kind of things that we are working on.

P. sees much more the tremendous power and grandeur of Hegel and why he was such an overpowering figure.

Wetter is not a Catholic on the basis of Catholic philosophy but Catholic belief. His question is, is dialectical materialism incompatible with Catholic philosophy? His answer is no. But he finds the fourth tenets of dialectical materialism unacceptable - the denial of the need for God. He thinks that D.M. is a poor philosophy, but he accepts all of Marx. The Marxian is the nearest to Catholic philosophy and is purely authoritarian (whether the authorities say so or not.)

But what Marxism did was to project the absolute into history. Insofar as you serve history you are free.

Isaiah Berlin is a good book. He really knows things well.

[43] Wetter's book is on dialectical materialism and he knows things well. The Communists swear by him. The Communists say this is the best book on the subject and he says that this is no high praise because no book has ever been written on the subject.

One must know exactly where the young Marx section is supposed to land you.

The utopian element in Marxism was the role assigned to the working class ans secondly the role assigned to science and thirdly the utopian role assigned to history. These were the three illusions but for the rest there was a deep insight.

The illusions were that the working class could do the job of history, that history was pre-determined and one could bank on it and thirdly that all this was scientific.

Lenin showed that history was not so, that you had … […]

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This was a movement based on science ans was a misunderstanding of what science could do.

It was correct that capitalism was a passing phase and technology could be reorganized with different social organizations and they rightly saw this and that it had something to do with industrialism and the whole planet.

But there was no clear idea on freedom and technology and [44] they missed the point and didn't see that technology would increase the reality of society to the point of endangering freedom.

Now we have the basic criticism of Marxism and recognition of its truth and insights.

Myself: What about Marxist economics?

It was all nonsense. Marx was a journalist and Capital was a pamphlet, but it ended up as a complete failure.

Myself: It strikes me that the central feature of Marx' economics, the surplus, is enjoying a wide renewal of interest today.

The peculiarity of the thing as that he linked capitalism and progress. Progress was linked with a private person's motive of making progress and a surplus came up on progress as a surplus product ans as a motive it came up as profit.

Of course it was a progressive system and increased production per capita. It was operationally impossible to produce at a loss permanently. The idea of it being progressive was vague, but not meaningless.

P. believes as does Keynes that it rests on habits and customs. Marx believed in Say's Law and Keynes disproved it. P. isn't even interested in good economics, much less bad economics.

In Marx the illusions come in through history. The working class would have to shoulder the mission and he had never thought [45]

Lenin saw this and didn't trust the working class or history, be he did trust Asiatic revolution and that did come. It came 40 years later and Asia is in revolution. It is the continuation of the Conference of Baku (the conference of colonial peoples).

He was right that capitalism was a transitional phase to something else and it was only the same technology that would produce a different society. This was a development of mankind's range.

But missed the connection between freedom and technology and the machine raised problems that cannot be razed in any human society. There were limits and the Bolshevists chose between freedom and technology.

In 1844 he was outdoing Feuerbach in humanism and the Communist manifesto was outdoing the ideologies in idealism.

One can be pretty short and not go into details but the difficulty is one has to lay down the law because so much nonsense has been talked about these things.

Marx was enormously fascinated by the division of labor which he observed in the English economy. He thought it was the essence of the human economy and he defined it as exchange (a corollary of the division of labour) but Thurnwald showed it wasn't true. Trade is earlier than the division of labour among individuals. Marx had nothing on these matters.


[46] Marx didn't know that the early Hegel was so radical. This was so by the time Hegel wrote the Philosophy of Law. He took it from Ferguson and Adam Smith not Ricardo. Ferguson is a precursor of Smith. Hegel saw capitalism coming and he thought it was crazy and was doomed right away, and only the authoritarian State could hold society together. P. had this thought in The Great Transformation (the English edition) that the Liberals brought Fascism in by insisting on laissez-faire.

The Liberal economy makes the omnipresent state imperative. This became apparent in the 1920's but Hegel deduced this in 1810. By the time he got to Jena he developed this.

Marx turned Hegel around in two ways − the subject-predicate (to real society) and from conservative to radical. But Hegel had been more radical than Marx with the idea that such a society was doomed.

P. has read a good deal of Hegel and hunted for the various Hegel editions with some success and continued reading in New York. (He also read the mystery stories of Graham Greene). P. read the Phenomenologie, The Encyclopedia of Sciences the Philosophy of Law, The Philosophy of History, the Philosophy of State (which is part of the Philosophy of Law). P. read recently the documents of Larrson and Hofmeister.

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The trouble with Hegel is that in the early years he wrote under a different name.

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[47] Hegel had the term "Sittlichkeit” often translated as morality but it's really logic.

P. read the proofs of the existence of God and also various other fragments. Hegel is marvelous in originality and giftedness.

P. also read half of the Lukacs and one third of the Wetter.

The first half of Marcuse's book is the clearest presentation of Hegel[2]. But he doesn't understand Marx' economics − the things any child would understand, he doesn't. His presentation of Hegel however, is excellent.

We know the alienation theory is all Hegelian.

Diderot invented a nephew of Rameau and he wrote a dialogue (similar to La chute) with a nephew who is cynical and corrupt but gifted. He is the prototype of La Chute. Hegel regarded that as the key to the French Revolution. If such a person could exist……

Hegel wrote his material for a pre-revolutionary country. Dostoevski also wrote as an author who didn't know that revolution was imminent and therefore is a parallel to Diderot.

In 1805 (before Jena) Hegel wrote: (approximate translation): "confidently and courageously the son of the Gods may throw himself into the struggle for perfection. Break peace with yourself, break with the work of the world, endeavor and try more than the thing of the present and yesterdays. In doing so, nothing that is better than your own time will you achieve, but that at its very best.”

[48] This is a summary of our relationship to the reality of society − to Man's endeavor, to his boundless attempt to go beyond the possible and fulfill at its best.

This was Hegel before he started to Jena. He just started to become a political journalist and failed.

P. had this difficulty on where to bring in the Rousseau, and Hegel was also troubled where to bring it in. Marcuse has the Hegel-Rousseau book.

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Rousseau (2)

P. has a certain difficulty with Rousseau. There is a book about Hegel and Rousseau and P. must read it without the Rousseauian dilemma we wont get far.

It is the Rousseau dilemma which needs an answer. He wasn't concerned with technology but the polis - the opposite of the modern state. Also Hegel wanted to restore these virtues which were naive and this was the naiveté of the French Revolution.

P. is not sure where to bring the Roussau dilemma.

The trouble with Rousseau is that he comes so early - before the Industrial revolution.

When he says that man is born free this is ridiculous. He has an organic chain to his mother's belly. When he says he is "in chains" it means only the actual institutions of mankind - the conventions, tradition and other institutions. He is looking to non-instituted society and both parts of the sentence are absurdities. But is was a beginning to an important book.

It was however, formulated as a revolt against institutions. But these make up human society. Therefore he is saying that man is born in nature but finds himself in society.

If we are talking about freedom and the relationship of man to society we must have Rousseau. Rousseau's paradox should come early.

Robert Owen (6)

[50] We should not go into Owen right now because the question comes up of what to take up from Owen as we are going into Marx. This is a serious question and we might put into Owen this or that sentence and it would have to be adjusted to the continuation in the next chapter. Another reason not to finish it off is on account of the needs of the Hegel and Marx. We should make it as simple as the Owen. We should have no higher dialectics. We are not convinced that these profundities are necessary.

We should certainly have an introductory chapter and this gives the pictures of the world that we need for Owen. It comes before, and we should have a preface and an introductory chapter and this would already give a rehearsal of the whole book. We would give the whole problem but not the answer so the reader would be introduced to the problem right away. For the answer we would have nothing except suggestive phrases.

(One of Graham Green’s mystery stories has a preface by the publisher who doesn’t trust the average reader to pick-up the story and really gives away the whole of the back-ground of the story. He just tells the reader instead of letting him pick up the background gradually.)

We will give away the problem in the first chapter, but not the answer, so the reader understands what he gets here. One should take the reader understand what he gets here. One should take the reader into his confidence. (The detective story idea was a mistake in The Great Transformation – a real mistake).

[51] The way Owen ends should be made clear although it is an excellent ending on the right lines.

It is peculiar that there is no concern about freedom in Owen at all. He thought that justice was the important thing.

P. has looked through the Margaret Cole book and saw that she missed all the important points. She is convinced that the Village of Union contains nothing new and that the second plan is a repetition of the old one. She completely missed the theoretical importance of the plan and made the enormous mistake to think it was a changeover to socialism.

The point is that Owen wasn’t a utopian at all and was not a socialist. She also missed the idea of the transition and this idea influenced German social democracy decisively.

Therefore, while she is very clever, cute and sharp she missed everything and thought he was demented (i.e. this letter in the Times). She has no theoretical orderliness.

P. thinks he read the Dolleans book a long time age and the Leeds Report referred to in may have been in the appendix to Podmore.

Margaret Cole knows the whole literature and is the Queen of the Fabians, and what she writes on The Village of Union is proof positive that it never occurred to anyone to look into The Village of Union. She thought the second was just an elaboration of the first.

[52] The points we make have never been made at all. There is however a limit to this thing. The world is not so much interested in Robert Owen or even socialism.

She has a long list of things that in which Owen first, e.g., education etc. but she must have left our another 20. Where she falls down is his penetration of the forms if industrial life under a market system.

The fact was that later on the government and important people like Ricardo said that 100,00 pounds should be invested at 5% to employ the unemployed profitable which was part of The Village of Union presentation and it stands out as a mystery. How could people invest money in something which was otherwise meaningless.

Margaret Cole said that Owen had almost the whole of socialism. Ours is the opposite view that he didn’t aim at a socialist society. But his postulates would lead to socialism but for his fanatic gradualism not to take anything from the rich or endanger law and order and consequently he built on the example of the Unions, but taking into account people going back and forth to the old society.

Margaret Cole agrees he was one of the best men who ever lived except she thinks he was absurd.

See the Margaret Cole book p. 22, 135, 136 (the 30,000 to 40,000 copies through the mail) p. 125 (he was demented) p. 135 complete socialism. She was mistaken.

Margaret Cole thought that in the second Village, he was [53] restating his plan meticulously and overlooked that this was a completely different matter. She said this was taking it to be a general social system without being a poor law and she didn’t understand what it meant. It was all nonsense.

Since she was a thorough person it proves that this has never been looked into.

Owen had thought it through. You couldn’t abolish the market system and you needed the profits to pay the capital to the workers who had been indentured. With no basic wage and only subsistence, the safeguard against depression was by long term (10 years) security of your job and securing consumption in the home market. One can get this in the public meetings of 1817 and the reports to the County of Lanark and not the rest.

Margaret Cole is really on the same line as we are that he had really anticipated everything.

Get the reference to the Leed’s Report from Dolleans.

Business and Economics

[54] P. was approached to organize a seminar at the University of Chicago about business.

The idea of business doesn't exist. We need a term which doesn't limit business to the economy, but to practical affairs which have a monetary aspect. […] … Lord of Church, politics, marrying his daughter, and ransoming his son. He had business but very little was making profit on a price differential.

Weber worked on that. The whole of Babylonia was like this. Therefore business must be redefined.

Oppenheim should give a report on the three phases where we find a high level of activity in Mesopotamia and the rest… […]

Rostow had this idea of a take-off period which is a good idea. Business periods generally last five generations.

Pirenne said that capitalism developed in three stages with three different classes. One of P.'s students tried to write about [55] the role … […]

If all the economic activity consists of bribery, confiscation, tribute, taxes, ransom, where is the economic activity?

Weber had the suspicion that the economic activity of antiquity was political and not economic.

P. thinks that a new concept should be introduced - business as an activity regardless of the sub-system of politics, religion or family in which it is the activity.

Economics refers to either activities in markets or if there are no markets any systematic attempt at production and organization of services e.g., labour services, collecting of goods etc.

The business school at Chicago might like to know out of what element did modern business converge? - Accounting, agency, etc.

Accounting is a separate development, e.g., in State affairs, and this is closely connected with a development of money. The danger is it might become simply a flutter of things.

It might start from modern business which converged from distinct beginnings This is the pre-history of the entrepreneurship, and this kind of business was something utterly different from the entrepreneur.

[56] Adam Smith didn't speak of the economy. The English used term “economic life” in the 19th century.

It is doubtful whether the Romans meant anything by the economy or economic life.

Hegel was astounded when he heard of the economic life of individuals. It was utterly new how the business activity were integrated.

In Dahomey, the King was a terrific amount of business and was at the court all day. For this he had to be in perfect health.

Economic analysis is the theory of markets institutions. Economic development is a parallel branch of study to the static economic system and all are a study of the place of economy and society. Economic analysis retains its capacity as an independent discipline for the price system. The question is what place would it take alongside an economic discipline.

The Germans never completely went over to the Marshallian economics. The historicists and the high method people (Schmoller, Sombart) and the institutionnalists had a debate with Menger for 20 years. He lost out and Germany was never won ever to the Marshallian school while we had the neo-classical economics. Jevons and Edgeworth were unknown in Germany. In America there was J.B. Clark who was a Böhm-Bawerkian. Then came the Swedes and Keynes came later.

The Germans had the historical school of Hildebrand, Knies, Schmoller, and carried on the Methodenstreit for 20 years. Menger lost and had not understood his position. He argued as deductive versus empirical and he appeared as a speculative theorist.

Several things were confused in the Methodenstreit, the deductive versus the inductive, history versus theory. No one could say what history had to do with the question. Historians were on the empirical side. Menger said it was theory versus empiry without theory, and he appealed to the natural sciences; it was logic.

Veblen with his institutionalism also came up. Veblen's secret was that he was a socialist, and the secret of secrets was that he wasn't. He wasn't a Marxist.

Comments on my "Freedom's Quandary, Draft #1

The idea of bringing … […]

Dudintsev could have written “The Organisation Man” and Whyte “Not by Bread alone”. The would be no shift if the titles were changed.

What strikes …

In question is whether this is the same subject. On the whole …

How does the question of freedom come up?

Myself: For Whyte it is "individualism", (the threat to the individual), while for Dudintsev it is the threat to "the forces of reason and justice".

This gives way to things which are not so plausible but true. […]

The industrial revolution is the start … […] - freedom in its moral aspect - the precarious … […]

It generates connections … […]

Some might say that they dont … […]

One takes the specificity … […]

Ilona agrees that the piece … […]

But the loss of freedom … […]

The reform of consciousness … […] [60]

If resignation … […]

I should try … […]

On the question of concrete safeguards … […]

It is not permitted to raise … […]

On the loss of freedom, even … […]

We cannot leave the problem … […]

P. introduced the term 'reform of consciousness' either in [61] The G.T. or [[Our Obsolete Market Mentality]the Commentary article]]

In The G.T. he said that the Fascists accepte entirely the r. of s. Here we say that in the name of the r. of s. the Bolsheviks reject e.g., “the uniqueness of the individual and the oneness of mankind”.

The reform of consciousness was given as the answer and in regard to freedom we do not lose what we don't have.

P. is for immediate publication of the article and doesn't think it would be difficult to find a place to publish.

I have to clear up one or two points, such as what freedom means and … […]

It will also help with the Bledsoe people. They are of course reluctant to give me full credit because I'm unknown.

'Commentary' might bring … […]

The answer that the freedom we lose is an illusion and the freedom we gain real, should be given.

Ilona: … […]

[62] Certain editing is needed: remove adjectives … […]

'Reminiscent' - is a mission-laden prophetic word and unnecessary. Dichotomy instead of 'dilemma'.

Whyte's term individualism means free entreprise … […]

P. doesn't see where inevitability comes in if it's only an ideology(?).

P thinks a technological civilization is basically precarious, undermined by fear, overshadowed by power. There is no freedom other than a delusion. (have powerful sentences, and since one has time, one might try…)

Bring in the question of degrees - on the comparison of the U.S. and Russia. Equation is not permissible.

What the threat consists of is in a way a left out. […]

[63] We live as if we had fear and are overshadowed by power.

P. thinks that careful writing is the answer. It can avoid being pulled too far by not promising too much. Instead it should be considerably restricted.

The best course might be … […]

Then say it boils to the same thing in America.

Then we needn't take the position so narrowly and need not say the technological civilization creates fear and power. I need not be categorical but can give technology as the reason.

Also mention that these are big questions and many things are involved, but one shouldn't be overlooked…

My question: […]

There are enormous amount of anti-freedom thinkers, and there is the usual liberal line of no civic-liberties.

But absolution distorts our value system and is responsible for our not achieving what we really want and could have. The absolutizing is the important point. (M.P. says there is nothing to do but absolutize.)

Unless you bring technology in, no one will understand.

[64] The reform of consciousness raises big questions but mankind has done this before. It wouldn't be the first time mankind is faced with a total crisis.

It depends on the care of writing and perfection of formulation which meet the thing, and to what extent one can be positive with things of this scope. One must up to a point be modest and sensible. Perspective, modesty and reservation are need on account of its brevity.

The term 'reform of consciousness' referring to the freedom question, has been done nowhere else. This would be an introduction and justification fur such a book.


Paul Medow

[65] Medow disappeared and then reappeared and wanted to do something on nationalism and the economy. P. dissuaded him, but he went ahead anyway. […]

At the same time Medow told P. of his philosophical and ethical interests, e.g., Fromm and Marion Levy. P. asked about Marion Levy, and he told him that he was working in anthropology and sociology and using psychology as a starting point to bridge the field.

P. thinks that what Fromm means by psychology is the care of the soul, what was formerly the ministry.Fromm is clear and vital. Medow was working mainly in the basis of P.'s work and Marion Levy, and his subject was accepted at Columbia by A.R. Burns. He spoke much to P. and ethics is his main interest apart from economic history. He had read Trade and Market. He said it should be written to come through in a simple way. He talked about Zen [66] Buddhism and Suzuki who was at Columbia.

P. was much impressed with him. […]

He will join the project and it will be the first time an economic historian will join the project. […]

He spells his name Medow with and "e" so it must have been Medoff or something like that.


Adenauer stopped the whole NATO … […]

In America now … […]

Kennan meant that Canada is the line.

One feels there ought to be more understanding of the foreign [67] policy line. I am being misled. If you say right away your purpose is you can' achieve it. P? doesn't identify a peaceful American policy with a reducion of armaments. Eisenhower made a fool of himself by keeping to the 38 billion dollar ceiling. He thought he could achieve it. Both his pacifism and his sound money comes from the Jehovah's Witnesses.

The whole of British policy is explained by preventing America from having talks with Russia, because that is the end of the British.

We wouldn't know … […]

We are told now that Gromyko … […]

The British forced through the H-Bomb test. The nature of power is to be effective.

The American public is faced either with peace with Russia or to keep the alliances.

America (3)

After the enormous publicity given to the Vanguard and its failure it is an enormous proof of the strength of America that [69] the could stand it. The incident was silly but the point is what it proves.

It is a tradition of America

That happened with McCarthur, Truman and the Korean war. […]

This type of public hearing finished McCarthur.

This shows the deep stability of the public - the stability of an ocean and is very impressive.


You whisk a bauble into nothingness and the balance of power in the world changes. With Pharaohs he had to build pyramids and the the Red Sea had to be made to rune the other way in order to affect the balance of power. With Tamburlaine he had to kill 40 million people.


Myself: What about Pearson's advocacy of free trade in his Nobel Speech?

Pearson was using free … […]

If NATO was built into a military … […]

Economic means that the different industries are built. […]


[69] Kierkegaard is a Christian and tests the position of the relation to Christian faith. But it is not the relationship which is the most topical today. His description of freedom is like P.'s − unless you fear something you can't maintain it. What is the anxiety about? Also K's Christian dogmatism can't be maintained today. With Abraham the specific thing doesn't come up but commands [t]o come up and put us in the position of to trust or not to trust.

P's interpretation of freedom is existentialist and never was any other since man reached his peculiar state. P. is not opposed to existentialism. He accepts the challenge and tries to answer it. He goes beyond.

Psychology and Ideology (3)

[70] P. will have something published soon on sociology and is getting something into shape he did ten years ago. This is on the question of institutional change and how strain causes change. What kind of strains are these and in what sens can one follow this?[3]

Ideology is a picture of motives which is normative and valuational. If the strain is very big it will have consequences.

One of the reasons value systems work or don't work is how they are related to motives.

The Great Transformation (6)

With the reprint of The Great Transformation by the Beacon Press there will be a blow-up. The Economists won't take it lying down, and will brief someone to write an answer. There will be more reviews.

Money (3)

This is the peculiarity of measurement, that its relation to other situations has changed because the cmmunicate in terms of this measurement.

Greece (2)

The weakness of the Hellenistic empires, Rostovtzeff remarked, arise from the fact that the polis couldn't expand and the markets [71] couldn't expand. […]

There was no Athens as a body and no citizens.

Gerrymandering was carrying on on the largest scale so that no big landed … […]

The Greeks had genius which is born out by everything we learn about them.

Interdisciplinary Project (7)

P. has encouraged by the Rockefeller Foundation to apply for another 3 year grant for $120,000.

Otto Bauer

When he was in New York. P. spoke to Otto Bauer − the founder of the socialist Christian movement.

K.P. Personal (5)

Losing Emmet[4] made a big difference. P. couldn't work but he got into subjects of is interest, e. g., the freedom question.

Twenty years ago P. didn't know English economic history and he learned it in three to four years − 1937-40, by teaching it continuously. In that way you really get to know it.

Editor's Notes

  1. Must be the Vorgartenstrasse… Cf. Felix Schafer, First Memoirs (1964-1966)
  2. Must be Reason and Revolution: Hegel and the Rise of Social Theory [1941].
  3. See both texts (or two versions of the same project) in 41/07.
  4. Emmet Mulvaney. See “Weekend Notes” XV, 17

Text Informations

Date: December 21, 1957 (Interview)
KPA: 45/14
Other Languages:

Lge Name
FR Abraham Rotstein, Notes de fin de semaine XIX