The next fifty years; The Future American Society
This is the reason why this common idea of the menace richness of America to me has the implication that it is built on that assumption that not very much should be done to pay the debt. It is true that I feel confident that no investment. Speaking as an economist no investment is more immune than this investment can manage to take a popular thought but it is a long term investment and will in the short term require a very considerable sector faces of the American majority of people who are well-off to spell these out openly and honestly. It must be part of your request for eg for national planning for the creative development of our environment. But U.S. planners on a national scale are up to become a standard you get to urging a change in priorities when considering public expenditure. I get he with your former President Eisenhower and many others that the United States is not in the situation of what it should afford to spend billions of dollars in
preparing for a flight to the moon when there is so much to improve on our earth not least the United States itself. It may be. It may be that the Soviet Union is so weak so weak that it needs to strengthen and improve its international imagine by such placings but America should be strong enough and rational enough. I mean to avoid such such expenditure what is more serious is the fact that Congress is much more willing to spend money on wars and war preparations and. All such things than are needed improvements at home not to speak of what we should now do in order to aid the underdeveloped countries which I'm not speaking of today. For us to see the necessity of doing it within the near future. Very good I think implying a few expenditures for turning the development of our urban life into approached him or host someone. It must be shocking to see how much easier it is to get
appropriations for wars and war preparations are several times bigger than what we would need to make in a modest but effective start of a planned development. I want this in the program for this conference and been called a creative development of our environment our society and our people. They even more serious effect this however that Congress apparently reflects how the American electorate feels toward the question of national priorities. The blame should not be put on the Congress. I have said and I repeat that I know no parliament in the world which is more sensitive to public opinion but the people the fact that the majority of Americans are fairly well-off and do not feel the pinch of the slum dwellers accept is a strange and unpleasant element in their surroundings that which they just close their mind makes understandable this popular disinterest in about the organizers of this conference have explained they wore million with the national planning during this line of
mental isolation becomes the e-cig in America because for reasons which I cannot develop in my short address their lore straight down American society have remained in neck not equally. It is visible in the low rate the participation in elections both local and national. Even in the north when the niggers can't vote when they are not mobilized and exploited by the political machines it's also visible in the weakness of the trade union movement in America which hardly embraces a quarter of the workers. Speaking of the sub merged under clause I would call them their works least the revolution of the proletariat. That passivity and non involvement of American underclass is not without the responsibility for the fact that all your policies taxation policies social insurance policies agricultural policies housing policies just stops just above those who are most needy. The nigger rebellion implies now an exception for one but they only want to get in the American
underclass. But for that many reasons which I could develop at such length. It's not to get off a unified and progressive movement of all the under privileged. There you have the legacy of the hate that agenda of the underclass which is a very serious thing in this country. It might even in the short run make things worse by splitting the underclass even more. This conference is based upon the conception that the ideals and goals for planning should be spelled out in clear terms. With this I Cordelia giddy and I get it also with a view so transparent in all the better punishments which I've been reading in Sweden for the conference that we do not we don't need to go far in searching for the ghosts as they are the cherished American ideals of liberty equality of opportunity and justice and progress. The main cranking a conclusion from my further analysis of the problem is then that the first condition for planning in a democracy like the United States is to reach the people and enlighten them in regard
to both the social and economic checks and to the policy conclusions to be drawn from ideals and facts without success on these popular level. All planning becomes nothing more than an intellectual exercise and more a small sect of devoted planners who will moreover remain under the constant temptation to compromise their planning in order to have something accomplished however inadequate and perverted from the point of view of the professional program and the real needs of the nation. Having reached that conclusion I must finally register my dissatisfaction with the trend among economists and social scientists generally and it's not only this country the same is true namely Sweden. But to abandon the great tradition at heart do through generations by even the greatest scholars and not least the great discoverers namely to spare the time from their scientific work to speak to the people in simple terms that laymen can understand. They are increasingly odd.
They are increasingly at pressing only each other. These tend to follow scientists. This for foregoing our responsibility for the formation of public opinion again opens up you can camp complex problem which in this brief address I have simply read is that it is of crucial importance for what ever reality can be given to the type of national planning which this conference is about according to its proper summing up. I see great difficulties facing the planet when he lifts some Bishan. The plan for the nation not to say for the road in some respect the difficulties are great in the United States than in some of the countries similar that each Western Conference is winning smile. Yes the difficulties are real. We had better face them squarely to do so is a primary condition for overcoming that illusion is not always been yours. The opportunistic illusion is more dangerous than others.
That was Dr. Carl Gunnar Mirrorball Sweden's renowned economist and sociologist. Another man with impeccable credentials as a social observer is David Basil on the United States writer and social critic. Mr. Bauer salon is a New Yorker. He is an attorney a teacher and a probing the social scientist. Over 100 of his articles have been published during the past 20 years. He is author of the book Power in America. Mr. Bacile on had some keen observations to make on America's needs for planning during the next 50 years to present those to you now. Here is David Basil on the technology does not change society destroys it. And the main achievement in America's brief history has been to create the greatest technological system in the history of the race and technology is what everyone wants. It is power it is wealth.
All the goodies come from. But my point is that this system the industrial system was first involved right now because the new industrial state is not in itself a society. And in order to bring it about the previously existing society is destroyed. What I mean by society in this connection is the whole web of human connection. We now lack that we have to create it from the bottom up. We begin with bits and pieces of traditions of previous societies including our own. Before we were so successful in creating this system. But this is really debris. It's the material for the creation of a society it is not a society as yet itself. So we have this great technological system.
Now the essence of the system I also suggested is the education of a crucial group of people who staffed the bureaucracies of the industrial order. In my view they constitute a new class in the fundamental historical sociological definition of class as workers work a class. The bush was he was a class etc. defined by Marx in terms of their relation to the means of production. We now have a group of people who because of their educational status and of and training have a differential in income a better chance to get into positions of status and power in the organizations which make up this industrial system. These people in effect if they knew they were a class and were acting together as a class could or soon will be able to.
Exercise the basic the crucial power in the new society. In this new system. So now we know that all of us belong to it. So very simply the new factor here is the new class and I believe that the history of the next 50 years will be centered around the dominant event will be the development of this class it is a new class young class and it is not yet developed. We don't know exactly in what direction it will go and it carries the weight of education of ideas. It is the educated class it will in turn looking back would control the source of education as any good union. Thus connects with our interest and planet. I can see that the message of planning is to reunite ideas with action. That is
what we want. We want history not merely to happen but for men sensibly with the full range of purpose to intervene in the happening at a time that means ideas ideas come from education and education and ideas are carried by individuals. These individuals not constantly constitute a class. Yes ideas are to be affective in history. It will be through the action of this new class of educated persons. Now the height I defend the notion that this is a new class not just a bunch of people who happen to have gone to school because they have this differential in income that is they have a better standard of living. They exercise power in the organizational here arche
and they do not do this by virtue of owning property. Now in the past it was always assumed that power was exercised by people who own property that were took on people in the world those who had property and those who didn't. One were called capitalists another would call probably Terry. Now in effect we have proletarians who have. This not it is fact that effective education and they are becoming more important than the capitalists. So the new factor is this new class will determine our future its existence and spirituality will create the new image of man which we are required to live in a new order. All of the debris of previous social connection washes against the shore. The technological system is not made up of hardware it's made up pieces of the mind
trained pieces of the mind of many individuals working together. That is the actual productive machine. Yet these people lend themselves entirely to their function. That part of the mind which functions as the machine and identify with it. Then that's all we will have. We will have the machine of a MUST while lending themselves as a tool as an instrument how to develop a capacity to see beyond themselves as instruments. And therefore one of the ways of doing that is to see beyond the industrial system itself as an instrument. In other words to introduce purpose into it in our new utility we tend to follow the leader which is science and technology that also isn't unfortunate because these intellectual devices although they are the occasion for intellectuals being welcomed into the world now that they are so productive and not just troublemakers. But these intellectual devices
science and technology in fact require political and spiritual leadership. Not exactly the same as themselves in other words not merely a celebration of themselves. And this is not exactly available and yet there are some of the new classes educated in propertyless its members use their education much as the earlier entrepreneur deployed his small capital fund as an income producing factor. But the entrepreneurs the entrepreneurs of educational status operate in a in a highly organized world of administration not in a primitive market situation. They create and rent themselves rather than producing and selling alienable commodities. And most important of all they do not look forward to an infinite accumulation of capital but instead settle for superior standard of living. When new class people speak up for the profit motive in life. Certain deceit economic man they are
dissembling. They are new men but have not yet they had to face up to the fact how to get on with thinking it through down to the bottom. This is the main human thing that will mostly be happening I suggest in the next 50 years we will be readjusting to the idea of ideas active in history. Now this system which this new class constitutes and would like to think is a society because it lives in it at least during the working day. But I maintain it's not a society this system today is merely an instrument. It does not have a built in purpose. And I think it should be viewed as an instrument when it when it is we realize the magnitude and the exact nature of our problem. We must find out what to do with the rest of our selves that is not merely instrumental. And we must in doing so figure out how to use this great instrument we have created
understanding the extreme difficulty that the system consists of these little pieces of our own minds but only pieces not the whole person. Clearly the technological system as a whole must be viewed as an instrument as good workman we should care for our tools but not worship or otherwise stand in awe of them. The problem here is that the tools of the system are millions of trained minds and the willingness of their functional interconnections the image of the old fashioned craftsman you will recall implied not pride in tools but in product which was intended as a personal expression. We may survive the use of our minds as precise as precise instruments for discreet and now application but only if we do not willfully in-system ourselves that this group devoted instrumentality is all that there is to our mind or that our mind is all that there is to us. Moreover there is an unfortunate imperialism of style that may proceed from one's expertise
to other areas of life. But children cannot be raised nor shrewish wives defended against with the insights that will finally convert the oceans to salt free gardens and send the inadequately raised children and unregenerate wives to the moon and beyond. As human beings we cannot safely crawl into the corner of a small connection with the industrial for that technology does not change society. It destroys now the industrial system is a wonderful wealth machine and especially here in the United States in its advanced state. But I want to be very clear and very firm again about what it is not. It is not a human society. On the contrary its foremost precondition is the destruction of the previously existing society which suggests the reason for its special fruition here
on this frontier continent with so little preexisting society to be destroyed and also suggests why the mere greedy desire for the benefits of technology even with the assistance of those who know how to use the know now is not enough to make the difference in the so-called underdeveloped countries in those areas there is too much dearly held society to be destroyed. Consumerism is a full grown ideology. It's not just that we're lucky and we have more goodies. This is an ideology of the consumption of the physical things the choosing of them. And the whole culture which sustains their sale to us. Indeed where the material conditions are present or nearly available it is my thought that it is a more effective ideology than the more the Tory Aswan of communism looked at in gross consumerism seems so obvious an inevitable result of new wealth on a mass scale. That one is confused and even embarrassed by the
revulsion it induces. The reason for this uncomfortable set of feelings is not what is contained in consumerism but what is absent from it. Namely any moving purpose except salvation by deodorant. That was one point. Advertising excessive product with this back and forth bombardment on which there spring to use is a form of cultural pollution of the environment. Equally as serious in my opinion on the physical planet. I keep the air conditioner on much more of a problem of pollution even then the air in New York City and I think it should be conceived of in the same way. It simply cannot be allowed to continue in the same way for the next 50 years we had to look forward to a genuinely improved human society. Therefore the.
Will therefore one of the things we have to begin to think about is how to control this without becoming a thought Terry of course but how to control it. Maybe you could license the number of ads that thought occurred to me so that buffer infinite South Bay is only 6 times a day. To recover the technological system is the dominant factor in the new social order. This system displaces the previously existing society leaving only the debris of human connection outside of its own terms and it affords the individual best atomized only two points of substantial connection with others through it. Namely that job and consumption in the broader sense. All of this is profoundly purposeless. The only purpose directly afforded us by the system is to sustain ourselves in order to sustain
it. But the system itself remains in essence a pure instrument. That is because we still conceive that we are building it rather than using it. To date war and consumerism are the only uses we have allowed. This is idiotic since the further creation of the system now proceeds best under the duress of use as we have in the Second World War the Cold War deterrent system space adventures and fiscal furtherance of consumption. And nothing can preserve our Mike purposeful but tenuous connections of individuals with and within the system. Except for work and for use more and more widely. The side that we have transformed ourselves and our society into a superb instrument. Yet we so remember another world that we didn't use it for freshly
present purposes. This system sustains man. It does not define thanks. Now there is a problem when you begin to introduce a purpose. This is publically enforced and that purpose and it's unavoidable in planning and thinking ahead. But a purpose in effect defines man. It makes a public definition of man. And this is always dangerous because any definition will leave out something. And here you're not talking merely about an abstraction you're talking about human beings the full range of capacity which has not yet been discovered and aspects of which have been discovered are frequently forgotten. Now we have experience behind us. And what can happen under a public definition of man. That is the experience with economic man
that was such a public definition. And we are still squirming to get out from under the weight of the burden that placed upon us this absurd image served an important historical purpose however it reduced demand and just a side to our capital accumulating instrument among the many lessons to be derived from my exercise with the economic man. Those that illustrate the effectiveness of such terror and these as well as their deliberations far past any reasonable point of utility. Point out in this connection the relation of profit motive the profit motive of course was the soul of the economic man. And I would point out the plan is to suggest to you that the profit motive is itself a form of planning in that it subordinates a wide range of human activity to the single purpose of accumulating capital. But the availability of capital of course in the United States is no longer a great problem. On the
contrary use of existing plant and purpose for sensible use. Much more serious matter. Still we stick to the profit motive and which makes sense only in distorting man in order to accumulate what has now been accumulated namely this great technological system. Still we continue as if we were still building although it is time now to begin. To use this requires I'm sorry to have to inform you a dismantling of the problem because if this motive is always first and any other motive a purpose is pushed to the side in deference to the profit motive then we will never introduce purpose into this machine. It will only grow bigger and more perfect. It will never be used to anyone truly human and pet one of the consequences of capitalism and the rational order of efficient
production technology wise that emotionality which did not fit into these efficient patterns were forced out of the public area. Previously they had been allowed expression but they were getting in the way of official production of the creation of an orderly technological society. They were forced into an area where they wouldn't question the trouble and would presumably be taken care of. That was called the family. Now the family did not serve that function previously but not so exclusively and the family was also an economic unit in the past. I suggest that this hold of this was an accompanying development in the whole history of capitalism and the increase in technology and the rationalisation of the organizational world. I think this effort in the family is nearly broken down under the pressure of holding office emotionally and I
think we're seeing that now with this new generation and with many people there will be more public expression of emotion in public more public emotionality than in the past because it will no longer be believable. It is no longer believable to these youth these youngsters that you can take all your emotion and put it in one place where I won't cause any problems so that you can be an efficient worker and the rational of the rest of the rational. Or that I will simply conclude. System must be conceived as an estimate and we must conceive of something beyond this question. That was author David basil on a well recognized critic of the American social scene also heard on this week's programme was the Swedish associate all week on a missed Dr call Gunnar mirrored all next week. We will present a continuation of the remarks by Dr Meir Dalai
- The next fifty years
- The Future American Society
- Producing Organization
- WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
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- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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- For series info, see Item 3455. This prog.: The Future American Society: Karl Gunnar Myrdal, David Bazelon
- Social Issues
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Producing Organization: WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
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Identifier: 68-26-6 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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- Chicago: “The next fifty years; The Future American Society,” 1968-07-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 21, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-x34mr16g.
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- APA: The next fifty years; The Future American Society. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-x34mr16g