Basic Issues of the Social Question

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Contents

  1. What is Kobo Super Points?
  2. The “Social Question” since the 19th Century
  3. Shop now and earn 2 points per $1
  4. The Social Future

Today, capitalism is the power through which still a remnant of the human being—his labor power—is stamped with the character of a commodity.

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Steiner advocated cooperative forms of capitalism, or what might today be called stakeholder capitalism, because he thought that conventional shareholder capitalism and state socialism , though in different ways, tend to absorb the State and human rights into the economic process and transform laws into mere commodities. According to Steiner's view, under absolute competition, the most dominant economic forces tend to corrupt and take over the State, [12] in that respect merging State and economy.

Second, the State tends to fight back counter-productively under such circumstances by increasingly taking over the economy and merging with it, in a mostly doomed attempt to ameliorate the sense of injustice that emerges when special economic interests take over the State. By contrast, Steiner held that uncoerced, freely self-organizing [14] forms of cooperative economic life, in a society where there is freedom of speech, of culture, and of religion, [15] will 1 make State intervention in the economy less necessary or called for, [16] and 2 will tend to permit economic interests of a broader, more public-spirited sort to play a greater role in relations extending from the economy to the State.

Those two changes would keep State and economy apart more than could absolute economic competition in which economic special interests corrupt the State and make it too often resemble a mere appendage of the economy.

State and economy thus merge through an endless iteration of pendulum swings from one to the other, increasingly becoming corrupt appendages of each other. Steiner held that State and economy, given increased separateness through a self-organizing and voluntarily more cooperative economic life, can increasingly check, balance, and correct each other for the sake of continual human progress. A central idea in social threefolding is that the economic sphere should donate funds to support cultural and educational institutions that are independent of the State.

As businesses become profitable through the exercise of creativity and inspiration, and a society's culture is a key source of its creativity and inspiration, returning a portion of the profits made by business to independent cultural initiatives can act as a kind of seed money to stimulate further creative growth.

In this view, taxes sometimes serve as an unhealthy form of forced donation which artificially redirect businesses' profits. Since taxes are controlled by the state, cultural initiatives supported by taxes readily fall under government control, rather than retaining their independence. For Steiner, separation of the cultural sphere from the political and economic spheres meant education should be available to all children regardless of the ability of families to pay for it and, from kindergarten through high school, should be provided for by private and or state scholarships that a family could direct to the school of its choice.

Steiner was a supporter of educational freedom, but was flexible, and understood that a few legal restrictions on schools such as health and safety laws , provided they were kept to an absolute minimum, would be necessary and justified. Institutions of civil society —non-profits that for the most part are independent of both the State and the economic life— are globally on the rise. See also this.


  1. Gertrude: A Novel.
  2. De la liberté (annoté) (French Edition).
  3. Cuando la razón acabe (Spanish Edition)?
  4. Social threefolding.
  5. The Flip Side: Break Free of the Behaviors That Hold You Back?
  6. Anthroposophy and the Social Question .

And this. There has been a debate among students of Steiner's sociology whether this means the cultural realm as Steiner understood it is developing greater independence from governmental and economic institutions.

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The “Social Question” since the 19th Century

Nicanor Perlas has argued in the affirmative. Gary Lamb has argued otherwise.

Nicanor Perlas , winner of the Right Livelihood Award , in announced candidacy for the presidency of the Philippines. Perlas has written extensively about social threefolding. A number of reform movements whose leaders and members may never have heard of social threefolding still unintentionally advance one or another of its three aspects, for example movements seeking to 1 reduce the influence of money in politics by increasing governmental transparency, 2 develop cooperative and socially responsible forms of capitalism for example, here: , and 3 make it possible for all families, including poor ones, to have educational freedom and the right to choose among independent, non-government schools for their children for example, here.

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Where the old order has already melted away or is in process of dissolution, individuals and small groups of people must find the initiative to start reconstructing along the new lines of growth. To try in twenty-four hours to bring about a transformation in public life is recognized by thoughtful socialists themselves as midsummer madness. They look to gradual, opportune changes to bring about what they regard as social welfare. There must be a clean sweep of everything to do with these horrible old parties; something quite new must come to life! Perishable money in a threefold commonwealth: Rudolf Steiner and the social economics of an anarchist Utopia.

Review of Radical Political Economics , 38 4 In the same lecture, he says, " everything relating to the spiritual and intellectual department of life should be detached from the political or equity state, and the spiritual organization should be independently administered in freedom. He argues that education, like other cultural activities, should no longer be administered by or under the authority of the State, and should be based on pedagogical freedom for teachers, as well as for the families who will choose freely among teachers and schools.

With regard to independence from economic power, he writes, for example on page 92 of his main sociological work, Toward Social Renewal: Basic Issues of the Social Question , that all " children shall have the right to receive an education, " i. In the same book, on pages , he writes that " education, from which all spiritual and cultural life emerges and develops, must be administered by the educators, without any interference from political or economic quarters.

Bos; Dr. The Barefoot guide to working with organisations and social change. South Africa: Barefoot Collective.

The Social Future

Steiner believed that human beings had evolved to the point where material existence had obscured spiritual capacities and that Christ had come to reverse that trend and to inaugurate an age of spiritual reintegration. He advocated that education, art, agriculture, and science be based on spiritual principles and infused with the psychic powers he believed were latent in everyone. The world center of the Anhthroposophical Society today is in Dornach, Switzerland, in a building designed by Steiner.

The nonproselytizing society is noted for its schools. Rudolf Steiner.