top of page

NONTHEMATIC / Vol. 27, No. 4 (Winter 1960)

Hardly ever has the prestige of the United Nations soared so high as it did in the initial stages of the Congo crisis last summer. True, the organization had only limited success--and could not reasonably be expected to have more--in its attempt to restore some semblance of law and order in the strife-worn Republic. Nevertheless it could rightly claim that by the promptness of its armed intervention it averted, at least for the moment, possibly very serious international complications.

Lest I be suspected of attempting to establish an artificial context in linking such seemingly remote topics as social reality and intellectual outlook, I shall preface my discussion with a few words about this relationship in general. In my belief, no attempt to comprehend any social order whatever can succeed unless it examines the view of man’s nature, status, rights, and duties on which that order is based. The factors constituting social reality, unlike those that make up our natural environment, are not given, self-explanatory, automatic. The nature of society is determined by, and its very existence is contingent on, the decision and acknowledgment, be it explicit or implicit, conscious or unconscious, of its members.

As most of us learned it, history is ethnocentric, dividing the past into two worlds, 'ours' and 'theirs.' Until now 'our' historiography has had a near monopoly, but as Asian and African historians come to think through history as they learned in Europe, we shall confront equal and opposite extremes in interpretation. The intense counter-ethnocentrism of the 'others' will likely produce the same historical dichotomy of evils and goods, but with the roles reversed. Can we better defend a historical superiority than they?

Most of the world's economically underdeveloped countries, including more than seventy colonies, came up with development plans shortly after World War II. These plans have taken many forms, ranging from a high degree of centralization and government ownership to a modest attempt by government to direct its activities so as to complement and stimulate the expected activities of the private sector. The plans have envisaged various means of development, have been sketched vaguely or worked out thoroughly, and have differed in many other respects. But they have in common an underlying belief that satisfactory economic growth requires positive government action.

This country's deeply rooted hostility to public housing has been shaken twice--once as a consequence of war and once as a result of depression. Most of us realize that such New Deal agencies as the Housing Division of the Public Works Administration and the United States Housing Authority launched an elaborate slum-clearance and low-income-housing program. Simultaneously, the shock of depression enabled reformers to inaugurate a federal community program. The Division of Subsistence Homesteads in the Department of the Interior and the Federal Emergency Relief Administration built more than sixty farm villages and communities. These were taken over in 1935 by the Resettlement Administration, which not only sponsored many more villages but three greenbelt communities as well.

Discussion of farm policy and economic culture based on Ezra Taft's "Freedom to Farm," published in 1960.

Review of book by Carl Landauer with Elizabeth Kridl Valkenier and Hilde Stein Landauer. Berkeley: Univ. of Cal. Press. 1960.

Review of book by Nbadaningi Sithole. New York: Oxford University Press. 1959. 174 pp.

Review of book by Sylvan Gotshal with foreword by Carroll V. Newsom. Washington, DC: Public Affairs Press. 1959. 77 pp.

Review of book by Alexander Heard. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. 1960. 493 pp.

Review of book by Benjamin Chinitz. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 1960. 211 pp.

Review of book by Robert H. Connery and Richard Leach. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 1960. 275 pp.

Review of book by Marion Clawson, R. Burnell Held, and Charles H. Stoddard. Published for Resources for the Future Inc. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press. 1960. 570 pp.

Review of book by Charlotte Erickson. National Institute of Economic and Social Research, Economic and Social Studies XVIII. New York: Cambridge University Press. 1959. 276 pp.

Review of book by William Baumol. New York: Macmillan. 1959. 164 pp.

Review of book by Maurice R. Stein. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 1960. 354 pp.

bottom of page