"Why Socialism?" is an article written by Albert Einstein in May that appeared in the first . Print/export. Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version. Einstein Al-why Socialism - Download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online. WHY SOCIALISM. Is it advisable for one who is not an expert on economic and social issues to express views on the subject of socialism? I believe for a number Albert Einstein.
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Why Socialism? by Albert Einstein. This essay was originally published in the first issue of Monthly Review (May ). [I've added links, some to within the. Let us first consider the question from the point of view of scientific knowledge. It might appear that there are no essential methodological differences between. Why Socialism? by Albert Einstein Is it advisable for one who is not an expert on economic and social issues to express views on the subject of.
Timothy Lau. Despina Dimitriadi. The worker is constantly in fear of losing his job. Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of smaller ones. Duke University Press. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion.
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I believe for a number of reasons that it is. Let us first consider the question from the point of view of scientific knowledge. It might appear that there are no essential methodological differences between astronomy and economics: But in reality such methodological differences do exist.
The discovery of general laws in the field of economics is made difficult by the circumstance that observed economic phenomena are often affected by many factors which are very hard to evaluate separately.
For example, most of the major states of history owed their existence to conquest. The conquering peoples established themselves, legally and economically, as the privileged class of the conquered country.
They seized for themselves a monopoly of the land ownership and appointed a priesthood from among their own ranks. The priests, in control of education, made the class division of society into a permanent institution and created a system of values by which the people were thenceforth, to a large extent unconsciously, guided in their social behavior.
But historic tradition is, so to speak, of yesterday; nowhere have we really overcome what Thorstein Veblen called "the predatory phase" of human development. The observable economic facts belong to that phase and even such laws as we can derive from them are not applicable to other phases.
Since the real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development, economic science in its present state can throw little light on the socialist society of the future. Second, socialism is directed towards a social-ethical end. Science, however, cannot create ends and, even less, instill them in human beings; science, at most, can supply the means by which to attain certain ends. For these reasons, we should be on our guard not to overestimate science and scientific methods when it is a question of human problems; and we should not assume that experts are the only ones who have a right to express themselves on questions affecting the organization of society.
Innumerable voices have been asserting for some time now that human society is passing through a crisis, that its stability has been gravely shattered. It is characteristic of such a situation that individuals feel indifferent or even hostile toward the group, small or large, to which they belong.
In order to illustrate my meaning, let me record here a personal experience. I recently discussed with an intelligent and well-disposed man the threat of another war, which in my opinion would seriously endanger the existence of mankind, and I remarked that only a supra-national organization would offer protection from that danger.
Thereupon my visitor, very calmly and coolly, said to me: It is the statement of a man who has striven in vain to attain an equilibrium within himself and has more or less lost hope of succeeding. It is the expression of a painful solitude and isolation from which so many people are suffering in these days.
What is the cause? Is there a way out? It is easy to raise such questions, but difficult to answer them with any degree of assurance.
I must try, however, as best I can, although I am very conscious of the fact that our feelings and strivings are often contradictory and obscure and that they cannot be expressed in easy and simple formulas. I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy , accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. Einstein asserts that a planned economy that adjusts to production would guarantee a livelihood to every member of society:.
In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child.
The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society.
In his final words, Einstein cautioned that "a planned economy is not yet socialism", since it may also be accompanied by an "all-powerful" bureaucracy that leads to the "complete enslavement of the individual". It is critically important, therefore, to ensure that a system is in place to protect the rights of the individual.
Regarding his motivation for publishing the article, Einstein believed Monthly Review would be a good forum for progressive ideas:.
Clarity about the aims and problems of socialism is of greatest significance in our age of transition. Since, under present circumstances, free and unhindered discussion of these problems has come under a powerful taboo, I consider the foundation of this magazine [ Monthly Review ] to be an important public service.
I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of smaller ones.
The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society.
This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information press, radio, education.