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5626Threefold Social Order -Pt. 3

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  • Durward Starman
    Dec 26, 2012
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    ******* Steiner began by saying that, where socialist theory tries to identify all the problems in society as stemming from the economic sphere, and believes that all that is necessary to do is to change that, actually the problems come about when the economic sphere intrudes into the legal-political sphere (the state) or the spiritual/cultural sphere. Steiner then went on to say that the problem is never solved by having politicians take over the economy, because that destroys the individual initiative and talent that makes a modern economic system work, just as economic actors moving into politics will not judge according to rights only, as the legal-political state must. Thus no socialist kind of solution does anything but make matters worse. If instead we do the opposite of having the state intrude into the economy--- namely make sure the state can only judge on legal bases--- then it doesn't matter how much economic power this or that individual gathers: it will only be usable in the economic sphere and can't corrupt the State. He then goes on:

       "An obvious objection is that political and legal questions do after all arise in people's dealing with one another in business, so it is quite impossible to conceive of them as something distinct from economic life. Theoretically this is right enough, but it does not necessarily follow that in practice economic interests should be paramount in determining these legal relations. The manager who directs a business must necessarily have a legal relationship to manual workers in the same business; but this does not mean that he, as a business manager, is to have a say in determining what that relationship is to be. Yet he will have a say in it, and he will throw his economic predominance into the scales if economic cooperation and legal administration are conjoined. Only when laws are made in a field where business considerations cannot in any way come into question, and where business cannot gain any power over this legal system, will the two be able to work together in such a way that our sense of justice will not be violated, nor business acumen be turned into a curse instead of a blessing for the whole community.                       .              

          When the economically powerful are in a position to use that power to wrest legal privileges for themselves, among the economically weak will grow a corresponding opposition to these privileges. As soon as it has become strong enough, such opposition will lead to revolutionary disturbances. If the existence of a separate political and legal province makes it impossible for such privileges to arise, then disturbances of this sort cannot occur. What this special legal province does is to give constant orderly scope to those forces which, in its absence, accumulate until at last they vent themselves violently. Whoever wants to avoid revolutions should learn to establish a social order that shall accomplish in the steady flow of time what will otherwise try to realize itself in one historical moment.


         It will be said that the immediate concern of the modern social movement is not legal relations, but rather the removal of economic inequalities. One must reply to such an objection that our conscious thoughts are not always the true expression of the real demands stirring within us. Our conscious thoughts are the outcome of immediate experience; but the demands themselves originate in far deeper strata that are not experienced immediately. And if one aims at bringing about conditions that can satisfy these demands, one must attempt to penetrate to these deeper strata. A consideration of the relations that have come about in modern times between industrial economy and law shows that the legal sphere has become dependent upon the economic. If one were to try superficially, by means of a one-sided alteration in the forms of economic life, to abolish those economic inequalities that the law's dependence on the economy has brought about, then in a very short while similar inequalities would inevitably result as long as the new economic order were again allowed to build up the system of rights out of itself. One will never really touch what is working its way up through the social movement to the surface of modern life until one brings about social conditions in which, alongside the claims and interests of the economic life, those of politics and law can be realized and satisfied upon their own independent basis."

    To Be Continued....

    And Commentary to follow.

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