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NONTHEMATIC / Vol. 57, No. 3 (Fall 1990)

October 1, 1990

Arien Mack, Editor

 

Table of Contents

 

Jeffrey Goldfarb

Post-Totalitarian Politics: Ideology Ends Again

This article focuses on post-communism politics. In the 1960s in Poland and throughout Eastern Europe, the still-vibrant critical left attempted to formulate a revitalized theory, Marxist humanism, and practice socialism with a human face. The Polish distinction between left and right appears all around the Eastern bloc, with interesting fluid variations. The empirical and historical problems of understanding the distinctive relationships between market and plan, economy and state, may be named capitalist and socialist, perhaps as ideal types in the Weberian sense, but certainly not as ideals in the political-normative sense.

 

Ira Katznelson

Does the End of Totalitarianism Signify the End of Ideology?

Presents a response to the article "Post-Totalitarian Politics: Ideology Ends Again," by Jeffrey Goldfarb. Focus of the article; Importance of the qualities of political thoughts of Goldfarb to Western political life; Meaning of the term ideology according to theorist Destutt de Tracy.

 

Steven Lukes

Socialism and Capitalism, Left and Right

Presents a response to the article "Post-Totalitarian Politics: Ideology Ends Again" by Jeffrey Goldfarb. Overview of the article; Distinction between capitalism and socialism; Views of Goldfarb on political left and political right.

 

Robert Heilbroner

Rethinking the Past, Rehoping the Future

Presents a response to the article "Post-Totalitarian Politics: Ideology Ends Again" by Jeffrey Goldfarb. Overview of Russian revolution; Requirements for social reconstruction; Objections to nonrevolutionary view of socialism.

 

Pavel Campeanu

Transition in Eastern Europe

Comments on the article "Post-Totalitarian Politics: Ideology Ends Again" by Jeffrey Goldfarb. Impact of the disappearance of dictatorship on the political and economic condition of a state; Goal of production for social organizations in Eastern Europe; Importance of coercion to societal production in Russia.

 

Michael Walzer

What Does It Mean to Be an "American"?

This article focuses on the significance of the adjective "American" to US citizens. US

politicians engage periodically in a fierce competition to demonstrate their patriotism. One might say, tentatively, that the term American points to the citizenship, not the nativity or nationality, of the men and women it designates. The adjective American named, and still names, a politics that is relatively unqualified by religion or nationality or, alternatively, that is qualified by so many religions and nationalities as to be free from any one of them. For this reason, the symbols and ceremonies of American citizenship could not be drawn from the political culture or history of British-Americans. America has no singular national destiny and to be an American is, finally, to know that and to be more or less content with it. [Reprinted in 70th Anniversary issue, 71:4.]

 

Alan Wolfe

Social Theory and the Second Biological Revolution

This article shows the importance of biological research to the reformulation of the hypothesis of human uniqueness since the nineteenth century. Issues involving philosophical anthropology have never gone away, and neither, therefore, has the question of human uniqueness. There is bound to be resistance within the social sciences to the discoveries furnished by biology. One reason humans have done so may be because they are the only species that can recognize the contexts in which they find themselves by attributing meaning to the information they process, a capacity that enables them to alter the course of their evolutionary development willfully. The ability of humans to use powers of mind and self to interpret the world turns out not to be a relatively insignificant quality of the species, but rather a crucial aspect of what has made it possible for this one species to evolve in ways so different from other species over so short a period of time.

 

Thomas W. Pogge

The Effects of Prevalent Moral Conceptions

This article focuses on the effects of external incentives moral conceptions on a person's human nature. What the side effects of a moral conception are will to some extent depend on when and where it is prevalent on the life context. This temporal phenomenon has a spatial analogue. For it is quite possible that the purposes of the esoteric ultimate morality can best be promoted by training various segments of the population to hold different use moralities, which in turn would require that moral discussions and the quest for moral consensus be discouraged. The analogous attitude toward moral reflection and discussion has the welcome consequence of heightening human tolerance for the moral conceptions prevalent in other cultures.

 

Duncan K. Foley

Recent Developments in Economic Theory

This article focuses on the latest developments in mainstream economic theory as of 1999. Changes in economic theory are particularly significant in a period when the Stalinist version of Marxian theory is also in disarray, and the whole question of markets and economic coordination in socialist economies is in practical and theoretical flux. The most important abstract results in the finite-commodity space general-equilibrium theory are that equilibria are locally unique, that is, prices close to but different from the equilibrium prices leave an imbalance between supply and demand, and that a logical link exists between competitive equilibrium allocations and an efficient allocation of resources. A stronger theory of the productive unit can now develop to balance the so far one-sided concentration of theory on market interactions.

 

Philip Mirowski

Learning the Meaning of a Dollar: Conservation Principles and the Social Theory of Value in Economic Theory

This article reports on conservation principles and the social theory of value in economic theory. At the inception of neoclassical economics, in the decade of the 1870s, it became commonplace for the partisans of the marginalist revolution to assert that mathematics had delivered them from the curse of value altogether. Value theory, far from being an amorphous grab bag of moral considerations or a labyrinth of confused metaphysical speculation, has historically conformed to a very few imperatives in economics. A social theory of value answers the second value question by rooting the quantitative character of market trade in the phenomenon of money.

 

Pavel Campeanu

The Comfort of Despair

Comments on the article "The End of Communism?" by Aleksander Zinoviev. Goals of Romanian revolution; Changes in East Germany after the Romanian revolution; Circumstances supporting the invulnerability of Stalinism. 

 

Harald Hagemann and Heinz D. Kurz 

Balancing Freedom and Order: On Adolph Lowe's Political Economics

This article discusses the book Has Freedom a Future?, by Adolph Lowe. This book is

concerned with the conditions under which freedom can be established and maintained vis-à- vis the radical transformation to which contemporary Western society is exposed. According to Lowe, the modern history of mankind can be envisaged as a process of emancipation in the course of which man tried to cast off the triple fetters of the past forged by a harsh nature, by even harsher human masters, and by the harshest despot of all which is ignorance. Lowe has always been very explicit in emphasizing that the main function of public control is to expand and secure economic, political, and social freedom rather than to restrict it. This cautious attitude might induce criticism from the left, but it makes clear that reproaches of favoring dictatorial systems are far off the mark.

 

Guy Oakes

Personal Sales and the Instrumentalization of Life

This article examines how training programs in personal sales define the sales process.

Training programs define the sales process as a strategic interaction, typically conceived as a contest between salesperson and prospect, the aim of which is to transform everyone, including the salesperson, into a serviceable tool for the realization of sales objectives that are treated as unquestionable axioms. The strategies set out in these programs, do not merely define and regulate the sales process and control the performance of the sales force. They also form the occupational identity of sales personnel by specifying how selling is to be understood, analyzed, and evaluated. Expect that if they follow the same strategies that produced the stellar performances represented on the platform, one day they too will find places on the dais reserved for industry leaders.

 

 

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