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NONTHEMATIC / Vol. 28, No. 2 (Summer 1961)

In recent political campaigns our press has been full of discussion of something new in American politics: the ancient arts of the politician linked with the supposedly improved methods of market research, public-opinion polling, up-to-date advertising campaigns, and all the devices of skilled manipulation by which the voters may be treated as commodities. What Rosser Reeves is reported to have said in 1952, that he looked upon the voter in a booth as he did upon a man who was trying to choose between two brands of toothpaste, has been transformed into the assumption not so much that the voter chooses between commodities but that he himself is a commodity, to be packaged and processed and stored away until inventories are counted on election day. Commodities, of course, do not choose; they are chosen.

In imposing sentence on a convicted prisoner a court must somehow tie together the requirements of society--as expressed in codes and rules regarding expected behavior, and behind these in official and unofficial pressures--with the experience it has had with the man in the dock. The court may gauge society's requirements incorrectly, and it may misinterpret the record chalked up again the defendant, but it cannot just shove aside either of them.

The Olympica--Decartes' youthful account of dreams and their interpretations--is believed to be the one writing in which 'the founder of modern rationalism' claims a divine inspiration for his philosophy. According to Gilson, 'at least at the time of the Olympica, he places a certain inspiration at the origin of philosophy, a point to which Decartes never returned, neither to reaffirm it, nor to deny it.' The 'inspiration' in question is divine: 'the sentiment experienced by Descates that he was invested by God with the mission of constituting the body of the sciences and thus, as a consequence, to establish true wisdom.”

Indeed, justice, like beauty, is often in the eye of the beholder, and if Justice Holmes could declare that criminals should be punished in the same spirit that conscripts are sent into battle, not to mete out justice but to preserve society, then cardinal measurement of utility becomes relevant to social policy only to the extent that the use of this concept contributes to social stability. This in turn comes close to saying that utility is what people who are concerned about utility (by whatever name) think it is. For the present, I consider that UG(subscript) has much cardinality and relevance for purposes of determining social policy as any measure of individual economic welfare we are likely to find.

A response to Justus M. van der Kroef's paper, "The Acquisitive Urge: A Problem in Cultural Change," in Social Research, Spring 1961.

The necessity of distinguishing between a fully utilized and an underutilized economy seems to have been stated first, though in imperfect formulation, by Adolph Wagner in his contribution to Schoenberg's "Handbuch der politischen Okonomie" (vol. 3, fourth ed. 1897, reprinted by Diehl-Mombert, p. 257). Wagner contended that loans from disposable domestic capital--that is, funds that at the time of borrowing are not productively used and hence lie idle--'do not withdraw capital from production and employment, and therefore do not reduce either directly.'

While Voegelin's work is encyclopaedic, it is no encyclopaedia. It deals in intellectual history, but it is a history neither of "ideas' nor of "political theory"; since such a work was long ago promised, it is perhaps excusable that some of Voegelin's colleagues in their reviews have mistaken the present volumes for it. Although Voegelin here formulates a philosophy of history, he erects no historical 'system' such as that of Hegel, for example.

Review of book by Hobart Mowrer. New York: John Wiley. 1960. 555 pp.

Review of book by Charles L. Black Jr. New York: Macmillan. 1960. 238 pp.

Review of book by Harvey J. Levin. New York: New York University Press. 1960. 219 pp.

Review of book by James M. Buchanan. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. 1960. 197 pp.

Review of books by XXX. New York: McGraw-Hill. 1960. ix & 276 pp.

Review of book by V. V. Bhatt. Bombay: Orient Longmans. 1960. 127 pp.

Review of book by Irving Bernstein. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1960. 577 pp.

Review of book by Robert William Fogel.Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press. 1960. 129 pp.

Review of books edited by Julian P. Boyd. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 1953-1958.

Review of book by Toni Stolper. Tubingen: Rainer Wunderlich Verlag Hermann Leins. 1960. 502 pp.

Review of book by Manuel Gottlieb. New York: Paine-Whitman. 1960. xx & 275 pp.

Review of book by Bruno Weil. Dusseldorf: Allgemeine Wochenzeitung der Juden in deutschland. 1960. 272 pp.

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