Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The End of Economic Man, Chapter 8 East Against West

So here we are at the last chapter. Like the whole book it is both of its time and something beyond it. It is about the German preparations for World War II and yet it has an attitude that looks beyond it. It postulates that Germany will have to side with Russia against the Western Democracies, more or less predicting the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact about two months before it became public.

On the other hand, it argues that recent German history, the history of the 1930s, points to a new kind of society, one quiet different from the Europe of the time. In these predictions, you see the themes that will become the hallmark of Drucker: freedom and equality, independence of operation and coordination of control.

In this work, Drucker makes no comment on information processing. Nothing about IBM. Only hints about the scale of the New Deal. At the same time, he seems to be ready for it, particularly as a way of structuring society. If economic production has failed as a means of achieving freedom and equality – or so he feels – the world is going to new a new form of organization. At some point, he is going to point to information as being at the center of that new form. He has prepared the ground work for that time, but he is not quite there yet. Although the Western Democracies “can produce a new order at will as little as they can restore the validity and rationality of capitalism and socialism, they can and should strengthen the dignity and security of the individual in economic society in such a way as to re-endow freedom with some meaning.”

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