The Present as History: Essays and Reviews on Capitalism and Socialism

The Present as History: Essays and Reviews on Capitalism and Socialism

The Present as History: Essays and Reviews on Capitalism and Socialism

The Present as History: Essays and Reviews on Capitalism and Socialism

Excerpt

This volume brings together essays and reviews written over a period of some fifteen years and covering a wide range of topics and books. The title is not an attempt to define the subject matter but rather to suggest the angle of vision from which the various pieces were written. Everyone knows that the present will some day be history. I believe that the most important task of the social scientist is to try to comprehend it as history now, while it is still the present and while we still have the power to influence its shape and outcome. I hope that collecting these essays and reviews in a single volume will make a contribution to that end.

Three of these papers are here published for the first time: "Science, Marxism, and Democracy," "A Crucial Difference Between Capitalism and Socialism, and Peace and Prosperity. For the rest, place and date of earlier publication are given in introductory notes which in some cases add comments that have seemed necessary or helpful on the occasion of republication. I have edited the entire volume as though it were an original manuscript, cutting unnecessary verbiage, improving the formulation here and there, inserting an occasional cross reference, and imposing consistency in matters of punctuation, capitalization, and the like. But I have not added or eliminated or changed anything of any substance.

The quotation which I have chosen as an epigraph is taken from Georg Lukacs, Geschichte und Klassenbewusstsein (Berlin, 1923, page 173).

I want to thank John Rackliffe for encouragement and assistance at all stages in the planning and production of the book.

P. M. S.

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