NONTHEMATIC / Vol. 19, No. 3 (Fall 1952)
America today faces a distraught and troubled world. America -- the notion to whom most peoples look for moral leadership -- should be calm and bold and adventuresome. America should have one clear course and never be deflected from it. America should be the force that rallies the peoples of the world. But this is not the picture one gets when he goes to the outposts of the world and looks back. The America he sees from that vantage point fills him with concern. The America seen from afar is distraught, confused, and troubled. The idealism and the boldness needed for leadership are often lacking.
Under the influence of a necessity which left only a small margin for error, the British socialists, in an intimate if sometimes reluctant association with British businessmen, have carried forward a "cautious revolution." The custodians of the revolution have now been changed, but the substance remains. This revolution is, essentially, a quadruple affair involving the nationalization of approximately a fifth of the economy; the development of new government services and subsidies, the redistribution of income toward the egalitarian pole, and the development and administration of controls over the private portion of the economy. It is this last feature which forms the substance of the following discussion.
Rejecting a Platonic as well as a "mechanistic" concept, Mannheim spoke of the "dynamic character of reality," that is, the ever-changing aspects of the world within the flux of social evolution, and the varying pictures of it gained by different groups of social actors within this process. Thus 'reality' is not only an embodiment of social existence within the ongoing historical process, but also the necessarily restricted or partial comprehension of that existence by members of individual groups or social strata. This comprehension tends to become more inclusive, and the historical process itself drives toward the point from which it will become possible to reveal its immanent meaning. Mannheim’s conception of reality is thus historicist.
No bigger problem is presented to the social scientist of our problematic times than the recrudescence and victory of Marxism outside the social area in which it was conceived, for which it was designed, and by which it was defeated. Marxism is the authentic product, and in more than one respect the logical culmination, of Western intellectual and industrial development. Today the power of Marxism in Western countries is only a reflex derived from the victories in Russia and China; without moral and material support from there it would not have a chance. On the other hand, if victorious in Russia and China, why should Marxism not have a very good chance in other Asian or African or American countries of a similarly retarded social economic structure?
The aim of the famous book by Neumann and Morgenstern, Theory of Games and Economic Behavior, is twofold: first, to give a definite meaning to what is called "rational" behavior of a human being who finds his path blocked by a "hostile" force (the term "hostile" will be explained immediately); and second, to investigate the particular problem of coalitions arising where more than two parties are involved in the struggle. In the present discussion I shall deal only with the first of these--with the general strategy problem, as we may call it, in contrast to the special strategy problem, which concerns coalitions. In particular, my intention is to investigate whether the parallelism between the theory of games (excluding games of pure hazard) and the theory of economic behavior, more generally of social behavior, so stressed by the authors, is justified.
It is now a commonplace in discussion of existentialism to distinguish between existentialism the fad, the darling of the Left Bank and of the sensation seekers, and existentialism the serious philosophical endeavor to explicate the categories and structure of man’s existence in its unique and immediate being. Nevertheless, any discussion of Jean-Paul Sartre seems, like a tropistic reaction of a plant, to bend toward a confused admixture of ontology, ethics, psychology, literature, and publicity. It is beyond the scope of my present intentions to determine the reasons for the unclarified status of Sartre’s thought, but that lack of clarification may be taken as a starting point for an examination into the meaning of Sartre’s conception of existential freedom.
After a war the victorious side often emphasizes the importance of the vanquished, because this enhances its own achievements. The present literary offensive in favor of the 'good' Germans far exceeds this tendency. The "good" Germans are of course not the hundreds of thousands of devout Christians, Jews, Liberals, Socialists, and Communists who succumbed in the concentration camps, or the survivors. The 'good' Germans belong to the nobility, the army, the high bureaucracy, and big industry. An outstanding contribution to this offensive is Colvin’s book on Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, who, while Hitler’s Chief of Intelligence, was a Secret Ally of the British.
Review of book by Boris Mirkine-Guetzevitch. Bibliotheque de las Science Politique, Premiere Serie, Preface de Marcel Perlot. 2 vols. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. 1952.
Review of book by Morroe Berger. With a Foreword by Robert M. MacIver] New York: Columbia University Press. 1952. 238 pp.
Review of book by R. F. Harrod. New York: Harcourt, Brace. 1951. xvi & 674 pp. $
Review of book by Wesley C. Mitchell. As delivered by professor Wesley C. Mitchell. 2 vols. New York: Augustus M. Kelley. 1949. 261 & 300 pp.