Whither Civilization?

From Karl Polanyi
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Text in English to type

[1] Co-Existence

Articles and editorial
correspondence should be sent to: Dr. RUDOLF SCHLESINGER, Editor Invereoch, Kilmun by Dunoon,
Argylt, Scotland

Karl Polanyi's Text

[2] Although in its quiet way England has staged no less than a social revolution, he would be a courageous man who would say with assurance that any conscious process of thought accompanied it. […] English school of sociology, there is an English method of social action. […] [3] yet the Holy Ghost

[4] hardly any mention was made of the release … […] to the problem of an industrial civilization, was not … […] While the Atom Bomb was hardly mentioned, the Jewish-Christian tradition moved into focus.

[5] The younger generation, on the whole, rejected the traditional lead given by the older members. It was this first which made Professor Hodges' contribution on the failure of philosophy so poignant. […] Professor Mumford's sway over the Conference may have been not …

[6] contributions: Professor George Gatlin, late of Cornell University, and Professor Hsun-Cheng Shao, of National Tsinghua University, Peiping. […] Adam Smith or of Jeremy Bentham (or of Karl Marx) […]

… of the [7] 'veto' should be dropped in the Security Council. Even though the Russians re overdoing the use … […]

A galaxy of minds was moving in the same general direction. Novelists, such as A. Huxley, S. Maugham, V. Cronin, depicted the good [8] man' of Leibniz's Perennial Philosophy. Writers such as E. Gill, J. Middleton Murry, J. Macmurray, G. Heard or R.M. MacIver developped and deepened the idea of community. Educational psychologists, such as Isaacs, Anderson and Horney; psychoanalysts, such as Suttie,Harding, Ranyard West or Glover; social anthropologists such as Ruth Benedict, Dollard and Malinowski had made important discoveries about man as a co-operative being. Niebuhr's analysis of pride, Russell's diagnosis of power gave substance to the 'remedia approach' broadly followed by Albert Schweitzer, M.K. Gandhi and Aldous Huxley. As a practical matter, Catlin said, a great increase is required in the power of the religion spirit. […] Shao offered [9] a remarkable application of the rational political science of the East to our problems. […] to man's [10] collective […] Christianity was indifferent to the future of civilization. Donald Maskinnon, of Kable and Balliol Colleges, made it, on the contrary, the crucial test of Christianity, whether it is or is not able to save civilization. He called this religion's 'total engagement in society'.

Without [11] such an 'understanding of understanding' the diremption of our civilization was final.

Hellenism, […] On this

[12] note of unqualified despair Professor Hodges closed.

Monsignor Knox …

His intellectual nihilism [13] was all the more clearly …

[14] Professor Lewis Mumford's address was chaired by Sir Alfred Zimmern, late Professor of International Affairs, Oxford University. The problem of our civilization, …

[15] […] Karl Polanyi, of the Oxford Extra-Mural Delegacy, attempted to establish on new foundations man's freedom to shape his own civilization. His address amounted to a rejection of the very concept of economic determinism which would limit this freedom. Man's dependence upon material goods - the economic factor - is not translated (as it is with some animals) into an immediate motive. What has been thus identified during the past century in nothing other than the working of the market-economy, which existed during the nineteenth century but which, - except in the United States - im in our time rapidly disappearing. Its peculiarity was twofold: First, it included markets for labour and land, that is, for man and nature; consequently the [16] whole society was embedded in the economic system. Secondly, motives for participating in production were reduced to fear of hunger and hope of gain; […] No 'economic determinism' exists under such conditions. For about the Road to Serfdom in a planned economy was proof of an uncritical belief in the validity, in general, of economic determinism. Such a belief is a failure to recognize the peculiar circumstances in which economic determinism was possible, namely, a market-economy. True, much of what we have come to cherish as freedom, was a by-product of market-economy. In future we shall have to plan for some of it. The Bill of Rights will have to be extended into the industrial field, protecting the individual against abuses of the power agglomerated in the bands of governemental or Trade Union authorities. There is no reason for our not having as much freedom in a planned society as we wish to possess. Outside a market-society, it is human nature, not economies, which is determinative.

[17] Bowlby Boffered a most instructive account on educational experiments…

Text Informations

Document Date: Report of a 1946 Conference of the Institute of Sociology - England, 1946. Published in The Sociological Review, vol. 39, n°2, January 1947, p. 103-112
KPA: 14/04
Other Languages:

Lge Name
DE Wohin Zivilisation?
FR « Où va la civilisation ? »