Donnerstag, 29. März 2012

Einstein: "Why Socialism"

This (mostly unknown) Essay from Albert Einstein is as valid in its fundamental critique on capitalism as it has been 1949 when it first appeared in the "Monthly Review".

It is from a time when socialism as an idea and as a word, has not been discredited by decades of anticomunist propaganda and its abuse by totalitarian demagogues i.e. in the soviet union or china.

My guess is that this aspect of Einsteins personality as a vocal follower of socialism was (and still is) embarrassing for the ruling elites that made use of his mind and celebrated his genius. His brilliant mind did not limit itself to solving the mysteries of nature but, of corse, was riddled by the complexities of human societies also. Especially this paragraph describes exactly the problem that we are facing in all western democracies today:

"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). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights."
Albert Einstein

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