October 13, 2017

MYTHS OF INDUSTRIAL AND POSTINDUSTRIAL SOCIETY

Y. Sogomonov and P. Landesman

Nobody will today dispute the assertion that capitalism has undergone essential changes during the past 100 years. This is not surprising because “the present society is no solid crystal, but an organism capable of change, and is constantly changing”. [70•** One can argue only over the character of these changes. The sense of contentedness hastens to depict them as the self-destruction of capitalism. Marxist criticism, on the other hand, stresses that capitalism’s inner essence has not undergone any fundamental changes although “a new social order" [70•*** has emerged. The term “industrial society”, as all its other kindred designations, is merely a pseudonym of modernised capitalism.

References are made to the fact that many enterprises and services have been nationalised. However, nationalisation is of a very limited character and, besides, it has affected 71chiefly those industries and services that for various reasons have proved to be more profitable if run jointly, by the entire capitalist class. It would therefore be more correct to call it “etatisation”, the transfer of factories to collective capitalist control. But it may be said that the Communists, too, urge etatisation. This is quite true, because it leads, even though partially, to an improvement of working conditions and weakens the position of private capital. But the Communists have never regarded it as the principal aim of their struggle; it was only one of the stages in the general struggle for the overthrow of the power of capital and the establishment of people’s control over the state.

Moreover, it is contended that on account of so-called diffusion, i.e., the growth of the number of shareholders, private capitalist property has allegedly become public property. But let us note, first, that the majority of small and medium enterprises are not share-operated. Second, there are no grounds for the argument that capital has been “ democratised” because not every holder of shares is a capitalist, an owner of means of production. In order to be a capitalist one must own a large block of shares, otherwise there is nothing to distinguish this “capital” from an account in a savings bank; moreover, this “capital” not only has no fixed credit interest but runs the risk of melting into thin air. For capitalists as such, the shares issued by their enterprises allow them to obtain cheap credit at the expense of the savings of the working people. There are over 100,000 millionaires in the USA. These are the people who, together with smaller proprietors, comprise the ruling class. While adding up to slightly above one per cent of the total number of shareholders, they own more than half the shares and securities. Affiliated with them are the traditional and neo-traditional groups of the middle and petty nonmonopoly bourgeoisie, especially those that have close links with the monopolies. For workers, ownership of shares does not open access to production management. Many shares do not even carry with them the right to vote at shareholders’ meetings; besides, even if the owner of one or two shares had a vote his voice would get as much attention at such a meeting as the voice of an ant in a herd of trumpeting elephants. The incomes revolution is likewise a myth. 72Experts admit that no perceptible changes have taken place in the distribution of incomes for nearly 20 years. [72•*

But perhaps private ownership has now evolved into a juridical label, [72•** remaining nothing more than an echo of the past, as the House of Lords, and there is no point in accentuating it? Much is being written about this with references to a “managerial revolution”, to the growth of managerial functions and of the engineering and managerial personnel in connection with the scientific and technological revolution, and the resultant complication of production and social processes. It is contended that power is passing from the capitalists to the technostructures (to use an expression coined by Galbraith), which is concentrating experience, know-how, information and decision-making in the hands of a collegial management. Does this mean that power has been usurped by a “new class" unpossessed of private property?

Can one draw the conclusion that under pressure of the scientific and technological revolution the axis of conflicts has shifted from the realm of economics to the realm of management, or that power has, without any revolutionary transformations of capitalism’s relations of production and its political superstructure, spontaneously shifted along the axis of education and skill to the meritocracy, an estate of scientists and enlightened managers pursuing the objective not of making profits but of meeting social interests, of improving the quality of life? Management is an indispensable component of any process of production and social life. However, it is also a means of exercising power, in this case the power of capital over blue- and white-collar workers at individual enterprises and on the scale of the whole of society. This is ensured through the subordination of the managerial apparatus to the owners of social wealth, who control finances and determine the strategy of production. An important role is played in this by personnel policy. Business leaders, managers and the bureaucratic elite are mostly people from privileged social strata. Most of them 73remember public welfare only in their public pronouncements. However, in the adoption and execution of decisions they orientate themselves on the economic interests and ideological guidelines of the capitalist class. Although they are formally wage-earners, their actual salary cannot be regarded as the equivalent of their labour power, as remuneration for managerial labour, because it is many times the wage of an average worker, even if we discount bonuses, incomes from shares, expense accounts and other social benefits.

But the management system also employs a huge number of office workers and intellectuals, whose condition hardly differs from that of the factory proletariat. They cannot be lumped together with the technocratic substratum, with the ”managerial bourgeoisie”, with the “new class" of managers. The majority are wage-earners, whose interests clash with those of the private proprietors. Quite naturally, a growing segment of white-collar workers have relinquished bourgeois preferences and are beginning to support the economic and even political demands of the blue-collar workers. The flexible managerial system gives only some of them the possibility of making a career, while the appropriate ideological manipulation, which counterposes this group to the entire mass of working people, cultivating in it elitarian ideas, group egoism, indifference to social and political problems, subjectively prepares them for hopes of advancement. The price of this career is unconditional acceptance of the bourgeois way of thinking and participation in the ruthless competition.

The sense of contentedness regards management as a purely organisational and technical function. It believes that the important thing is that the factories should produce higherquality and cheaper goods, that transport should quickly carry freight and passengers, that schools should give children a sound education, that science should go on making discoveries, while government organs should adopt effective decisions. But does all this free management from an ideological orientation? Factories will continue to produce. But what sort of goods will they manufacture? Tn whose interests will this output be distributed? Who will get the profits? What is the character of labour? Who will direct 74production? And then the schools—whom will they educate? Will the education system aggravate the contradictions between the different social groups or will it help to settle these contradictions? Government organs will adopt and enforce decisions, but have decisions ever been passed that have entirely been emancipated and safeguarded from the values and political and moral positions of their makers? One can try to escape from these questions or deliberately distort them calling them philosophical ballast, but this will change nothing. To a certain extent the growth of the bourgeois state machine and the intensive bureaucratisation of life in capitalist society unquestionably spring from the complication of managerial tasks. But the basic motivating strength of these processes is nonetheless linked with tight control of the actions of the working people, the suppression of their initiatives, the stamping out of social protests and efforts to crush the general democratic and socialist movement. The strengthening of the bourgeois state is spearheaded against socialist countries and the national liberation movement. The state machine is active in moulding the bourgeois orientation among the people and the easily guided individual, in spiritual coercion, in bringing massive ideological and psychological pressures to bear on the people in order to give shape to a satellite consciousness.

There is an objective need lor improving the organisation of work in industry and the life of society as a whole, for evolving the best possible methods and systems of management, for developing the techniques and psychology of management. To a certain extent managers meet this need. It would be absurd to belittle the role of technical and economic expertise in drawing up, adopting and enforcing decisions. But every society strives not only to promote the growth of labour productivity and the saving of social effort, but also to operate and develop in keeping with the interests of the ruling class and its main aims as expressed in its ideological doctrines. Lenin wrote that “without a correct political approach to the matter the given class will be unable to stay on top, and, consequently, will be incapable of solving its production problem either”. [74•* Obviously no 75technocratic, managerial “revolution” can remake capitalism’s social nature, although a modification of some principles of management creates some hitherto unknown relations and problems (for instance, individual, factional conflicts between managers of the older and the younger generation, between the bureaucracy and the neo–technocrats eager to join the ranks of the ruling oligarchy, between these specialists and career politicians, and so on).

Further, the myths of the sense of contentedness encourage the idealisation of the modern bourgeois state as a sort of supra-class organisation and arbiter between conflicting interests. They inspire (he belief that it is able to abolish exploitation, limit and transform private ownership, and make the corporations serve the nation by reforms of the tax and credit policy, social legislation and insurance systems, relying on nationalised industries, the practice of public works, and its direction of scientific research and education. This “superstitious” approach to the state, an approach called etatist (or statist) in sociology, is nourished by modifications and an expansion of some of the state’s functions. The modern bourgeois state energetically interferes in the economy as the official representative of capitalist society. It does its utmost to prevent any aggravation of the contradictions in all links of that society that could disrupt the extended reproduction of monopoly capital, grants credits, invests capital, takes part in programming production, regulates prices, stimulates and directs the demand, ensurse the movement of labour power, trains personnel, and so forth. Here some interests of the capitalists are infringed upon when necessary. However, this is done by no means in the interests of the working masses, but to benefit the super-monopolies at the expense of segments of small and medium entrepreneurs.

The bourgeois state has turned tight the screws of the tax press. But has this made the capitalists any poorer? Of course, not. What the fiscal authorities leave untouched represents formidable sums. Moreover, the corporations are well informed of all the legal and illegal ways of evading taxes with impunity. But even the deducted part of their profits is returned to them in the shape of state subsidies, profitable state contracts, and so forth. Further, the state frees private capital from investing in non-paying industries vital to general economic development.

There is no doubt about the state’s massive economic and administrative measures in the sphere of planning designed to relax the contradiction between the social character of production and private-monopoly ownership, build up an anti-crisis shield, avert economic chaos and anarchy, and soften the operation of spontaneous forces as the inevitable outcome of monopoly enterprise. These are nothing less than a set of adaptive measures of a guidance nature, representing organised supervision of individual enterprises with the aim of helping the monopolies to keep the market situation under close surveillance, ensure a balance between material costs and outlays of time, programme production and forecast scientific and technical changes. The warped admission of the objective need for planning, the elements of planning in the capitalist economy and the palliative nature of the entire guidance system are evidence notably of the maturing material prerequisites of socialism. “The ‘ proximity’ of such capitalism to socialism,” Lenin wrote, “should serve genuine representatives of the proletariat as an argument proving the proximity, facility, feasibility and urgency of the socialist revolution, and not at all as an argument for tolerating the repudiation of such a revolution and the efforts to make capitalism look more attractive, something which all reformists are trying to do.” [76•*

At the same time, capitalist planning is a reply to the socialist challenge. With the growth of the socialist countries’ share of the world’s industrial output the economic problem of growth rates has become a political problem. Without state regulation capitalism cannot join in the economic competition with socialism.

The myths of the sense of contentedness also include the convergence theories, which are a find for it and there is more than meets the eye when they are called the great hope of the 20th century. According to these theories the capitalist and socialist systems are steadily and irreversibly drifting towards each other in the economic, social, political, cultural and everyday spheres. In the long term this convergence 77must result in the appearance of a “tertiary civilisation”, i.e., a society of service, and even a “quaternary civilisation”, i.e., a society of science and service, [77•* which will completely synthesise all the distinctions of these two systems. To back up these theories their proponents refer to such convergent indicators as industrialisation, automation of production, economic programming, mathematical methods of economic management, the scientification of all spheres of activity, the swift growth of the number of scientists, urbanisation, the growth of the number of people employed in the services industry and in management, the enhanced social mobility and numerical growth of the student body, the radical changes in the population’s professional and age structure, the development of the mass media, and so on. This is an impressive list and the sense of contentedness, which never troubles itself with serious analyses, draws the conclusion: “Quod erat demonstrandum".

The recognition that society is in the process of hybridisation necessarily leads to “obvious” conclusions that in somewhat modified form reproduce the basic maxims of the sense of contentedness: the emergence of a mixed society must be fostered in every way; the banners of the ideological struggle must be folded, for that struggle only delays the process; the idea that society must be transformed by revolution on the basis of social equality must be abandoned; the policy of moderate reforms to ensure the smooth functioning of the bureaucratic machine of administration must be supported, and so on.

The sense of contentedness refers to outwardly, formally similar processes taking place in socialist and capitalist societies. This similarity is in some sense inescapable. The scientific and technological revolution, industrialisation and automaton have some features in common in the two socioeconomic systems. Take, for example, the rapid growth of the urban population, the education level and the services industry. The parallel looks simplest of all in the everyday sphere, where TV sets, refrigerators, transistors and vacuum-cleaners have become commonplace. But in their comparisons the proponents of the convergence theories leave onl the main thing, namely, the social forms and methods of promoting these processes and the ensuing con sequences. This allows them to ignore the relations of production and the superstructure as inconsequential and minor. The sense of contentedness deliberately misinterprets trends in the capitalist world that testify to the maturing of the material prerequisites of socialism (economic regulation, scientification of production management, and so on), giving them out for changes in the nature of capitalism. On the other hand, it is hypnotised by some of the processes in the socialist world. Take the economic underdevelopment inherited by most of the socialist countries, which were able to embark upon development on their own material basis not at once but after some time spent on accomplishing what capitalist development had been unable to do ( industrialisation, wiping out illiteracy, and so on). This created the impression that they were advancing by stages that had already been passed by the industrialised capitalist states. But the sense of contentedness does not wish (or is unable) to discern through this impression the fundamentally different conditions in which technology, science and culture are developing in the socialist world.

Similarly, it interprets modern socio-economic development, primarily the economic reform being put into effect in some socialist countries, in a spirit advantageous to it. It fancies that this reform is restoring diluted capitalism in these countries and thereby signifies a departure from orthodox Marxism. The comprehensive and more consistent application of the socialist principles of economic management based on profound knowledge and utilisation of objective laws (in particular, the enhanced role of profits, operational economic autonomy, credits, material incentives, extension of cost relations, the promotion of local initiative, the development of mathematical methods of economic management) is depicted as a reconstruction of bourgeois relations.

In ideology, too, the sense of contentedness wallows in the same sort of self-deception. During the past two decades the trend in bourgeois sociology has been to unite heterogeneous theories, whose similarity of problems, attitudes and methods allows them to complement and replace each other. This trend, which is, incidentally, not the only one, 79creates the impression that there is a universal law in the ideological process. Here again, led astray by outward appearances, the sense of contentedness believes in the possibility of combining bourgeois and Marxist sociology, of their reciprocal cleansing of ideological dogmas, of eliminating the fatal alternative between them, and of their subsequent fusion.

When the sense of contentedness passes from remote and extremely loose prognostication to more realistic ground it finds that in all its essentials the compromise “mixed society" model is the selfsame, slightly modernised statemonopoly capitalism. Under the pretext of high economic efficiency it retains private ownership, enterprise and their accompanying institutions, while the inevitable vices of the system of private (or private-state) enterprise are obscured by non-committal ethical imperatives.

The idea underlying this construction is fundamentally false. The character of actual development is divergent, because, on the one hand, present-day capitalism’s contradictions are aggravated and grow acute and, on the other, socialism develops steadily on its own basis, revealing the abyss lying between the effects of the scientific and technological revolution in different socio-economic systems. Under these conditions the convergence summons turns into an ultimatum relative to socialism and into a factor masking all the basic aspects of imperialist policy.

Since the hopes for a voluntary and equitable convergence are equal practically to zero, imperialism leaves hopes of this kind to political simpletons and uses the favoured convergence idea to camouflage its interference in the affairs of socialist countries with the aim of “dismantling communism" and restoring the capitalist order. These intentions are solicitously concealed with talk about buildingbridges or “humanising” socialism.

While having retained at least an elementary ability to think realistically, the sense of contentedness is thus nonetheless cut off from the “great hope of the 20th century".

Goethe once warned against the delusion that the truth lies between two extreme opinions. We would say that between them lies a problem, in the given case the problem of renouncing the sense of contentedness.


The sense of contentedness is the victim of credulity. It meekly agrees with the claim that the dynamism, the social mobility of the “open society" (yet another pseudonym of “democratic” capitalism!), has reached such a high level that it is time to speak of the disappearance of society’s class rnacrostructure. The stratification and division of people (on account of the differentiation of the multitude of functions and the distinctions in individual capabilities) into groups having basically identical interests are allegedly all that has remained. Since there are no obstacles to the transition from one social compartment to another and since infiltration from the lower to the higher strata proceeds with relative ease, the class-consciousness of the working people and revolutionary eruptions disappear; society’s stability and the integration of its various social groups are endlessly consolidated.

Of course, compared with preceding, “traditional” societies, in which man was anchored for life in a definite stratum, capitalism may seem to be a society with free circulation among all the levels of social position. Actually this circulation proceeds on the basis of a bitter and exhausting competition for the right to make one’s way in the world, while even advancement is the result of the most scrupulous sifting. The point here is not that the mechanism of social testing and selection is poorly organised and regulated, letting through to the top incompetent or authoritarian leaders. This is assumed by the “critically minded" sense of contentedness, which in fact blindly believes in integration. When it involves certain people from the lower strata, advancement is secured at the price of desertion from one’s class. But an entire class cannot be declassed (deproletarianised)! As has been incisively put by an American sociologist, 99.9 per cent of the citizens of the USA have as little chance of becoming the President as 99.9 per cent of the subjects of a monarchy have of becoming a monarch. [80•*

Bourgeois ideology gives out its cherished wish to mould in the working people a false idea of their own class interests, a submissive sense of contentedness, for a fact or something that is becoming a fact. Operation “unity” is the strategic ideal of the bourgeoisie. But against the background of the increasing social stratification and the unremitting class struggle, this operation proves to be a fictitious ideal.

All the attempts to channel the energy of the masses from the struggle for their class interests to a struggle for personal advancement, and the desire to see classes disintegrate into competing groups seeking a larger share of the national income and power are inconsistent with the actual trends of social development. An objective analysis lays bare the hollowness of the idea of integration, of halting proletarianisation, of depolarisation, of reconciling labour with capital. On the contrary, it shows the increasing activity and organisation of the masses, the growing prestige of Marxist-Leninist ideology and the strengthening and development of the communist and working-class movement. Although the sense of contentedness is still a mass phenomenon, the basic trend cannot be averted even by the most subtle bourgeois ideological manipulation. The illusory unity of industrial society is counterposed by the strengthening unity of the proletariat, of the working people and the liberated peoples of all countries. Today bourgeois sociology is only able to establish certain social and psychological mechanisms and dependencies and help to settle some conflicts on the level of inner-group relations. But it cannot settle the conflicts between labour and capital, between the militant proletariat and monopoly capitalism. The people’s hostility for the aims and motivations of capitalist production and for the entire capitalist organisation cannot be neutralised by preventive sociology and psychoanalytical suggestion.

The assurances that the era of ideologies and social revolutions is on the decline are beneath criticism. The revolutions may even be “attributed” to explosions of energy caused by fluctuations in solar activity, by mass hysteria or accidental miscalculations. People opposed to consumer society may be stigmatised, likened to Luddites or anarchists, regarded as unstable, convulsive, intolerant or simply romantics. One may endlessly urge for a “saving” on revolutions with the pica that they disrupt the smooth, normal course of social development, destroy productive forces and waste social energy. But one cannot name a single major progressive event during the past sixty years that does not in one way or another bear the imprint of the great liberative storm introduced by the October Revolution in 1917. Far from making political revolutions unnecessary, scientific, technological and social development in the capitalist world creates situations, impasses and paradoxes from which the anti-monopoly revolution is the only way out.

The stance of the sense of contentedness becomes even more tangled and precarious when it tries to attribute all social vices to moral degradation. It has an intimate knowledge of the lattcr’s symptoms because for the most part its judgment of them is based on its own experience, on inside information. This experience tells it that consumercult interests, which supersede moral inducements in the role of guiding principles of behaviour, underlie the crisis. It believes that to rejuvenate society it is enough to surmount the moral crisis: all its social imperfections will at first ease off and then disappear entirely. But this is exactly where the paradox begins. Is it not strange that society’s “normal functioning" engenders the social factors of moral degeneration? Considered as ideal by the sense of contentedness, the bourgeois organisation itself blesses the consumer orientation in its own development, stimulates ruthless economic competition, gives rise to the struggle for power and prestige, squeezes the activity of people into formalised bureaucratic systems, and generates racial problems, the “demonism” of technology, uncontrolled urbanisation, and so forth, which directly or indirectly lead to moral degradation.

The sense of contentedness regards the perfection of those 1 actors and institutions of the bourgeois organisation that produce the crisis as the way to achieving moral rejuvenation. But the more intensively these factors and institutions operate, the more pronounced moral vices become. An ugly infiniteness of causes and effects looms before the sense of contentedness in the shape of a problem that cannot be coherently explained. In order to extricate itself from this impasse the only line of action open to it is to turn to historical experience, in the light of which the present 83moral degradation allegedly has the appearance of an inevitable Haw of the idealised private-property organisation.

Indeed, although history has been painted red with blood, the humanisation of relations is still taking place. In listing the lines of humanisation, progress is named in the attitude to children, the sick, cripples and aged people. Attention is drawn to the emancipation of women, the almost total disappearance of blood feuds, the eradication of prejudices towards some professions, the condemnation of torture, which had once been regarded as the common way of obtaining information, the abolition of corporal punishment, without which education could not be conceived, the increasing toleration of dissidence, the ability to settle conflicts in a spirit of understanding, and much else.

Lenin emphatically denounced this approach to the complex dialectics of moral development. He caustically ridiculed the trivial arguments of the German positivist Joseph Petzoldt, who contended that mankind was smoothly evolving into a “perfect state of stability”. Indications of this evolution were seen in the “restraint of radicals”, the decrease in the returns on capital, the rise of wages, the improvement of the condition of the wage worker; a slave’s leg could once be broken with impunity, but now ... he who has eyes will see! [83•*

This mode of understanding and substantiating moral progress conforms perfectly with the logic of the sense of contentedness. For the latter it is enough to freshen up the facts in the Petzoldt pattern. Why then cannot the relaxation of morals, the abatement of cruelty, as a result of cultural growth and the increased safety of existence, be regarded as an argument in favour of the sense of contentedness? For the simple reason that moral dynamics do not permit us to believe in the “automatism of history”. Let us recall the gruesome moral effects of the collapse of primitive society. The base interests, dirty aims and odious means that had undermined the tribal system with the development of class society are by no means fading. Despite the notions of the sense of contentedness with its vain pride, the relaxation of morals is an extremely contradictory 84process, Man’s value as an individual and the humanity of relations have unquestionably risen. But exploitation and alienation with all their anti-humane consequences grew simultaneously despite official optimism. The simplified pattern of evolutionism has no room for fascism with its concentration camps and gas chambers, Hiroshima, neocolonialist oppression, racism, bureaucratic tyranny, egoism, corruption, drug-addiction, and much else.

Thus, relative to moral progress none of the evidence presented by the sense of contentedness holds any water. There is nothing left to it save either to resort to the favourite argument of anti-intellectualism—I believe because this is absurd—or to call in (time without number!) the unfailing and seemingly reliable slogan of moderation. Moral moderation and a “strong hand" are what will allegedly weed out the social and moral vires (the selfsame inevitable flaws) of capitalist society. Given all its ostentatious love for democracy, the sense of contentedness does not, under certain historical conditions, by any means regard authoritarian and chauvinistic trends as alien to it.

Remaining true to itself, it cannot and does not desire to see true hopes and prospects. Essentially bourgeois, it is made up to regard communism and its realisation in the socialist world as the greatest menace to civilisation, as the most diabolic obsession of the century. For that reason on the level of internal policy the sense of contentedness directly or indirectly places its trust in anti-comiiiunism of all varieties, while on the international scene it approves the calls for cold war, militarisation, the arms race ( frequently sharing in the resultant economic benefits) and military pressure, regarding this as the best guarantee of the conservation of the social relations in which it itself germinates.

But it has come up against trials that were unknown to its forerunners. In it the attitude to communism is, above all, an attitude to a word nuclear war. Even with its inclination for hard-voiced bravado, it does not find it very easy to arrive at an acceptable compromise between the fundamental point of its credo of a fine present and a finer future and its antipode, the nuclear threat. Its stance is purely anti-communist. But since it has to live in a world where the will of anti-communism is not the sole law, it has, albeit partially, become aware of the strength of retaliation and suddenly finds in itself peaceful aspirations, which clearly lay bare its fragmentation and inner contradiction.

The sense of contentedness asserts its golden mean not in support of detente, not in the struggle to avert a nuclear catastrophe and make the principles of peaceful coexistence a standard of relations in the community of nations, but on the basis of attempts to return this community to the cold war years. To avoid mutual extermination people must pay a tribute to the least evil, the alternative allegedly being only the following: a peace safeguarded by the threat of force, a peace on the brink of war, going down to but never reaching the sinister precipice. Implicit in this theory is the surmise that a military impasse will make the struggle to change the social system likewise senseless. It is contended that having run into the world’s fatal political structure the class struggle will inevitably die down.

The balance of fear concept appeals to the experience of history: nobody, it is said, has yet started a war in the knowledge that retaliation is inescapable. However, this reference is untenable if only for the reason that there has never been a situation with a nuclear impasse. In addition to the fact that the endless arms race drains economic resources, it continuously (due to an actual or supposed disturbance of the balance) harbours the threat of a military explosion. Besides, the possibility of imperialism starting a “war of desperation" must not be discounted either. The very situation of nuclear terrorisation, the whipping up of fear and mutual distrust leads to grave political and moral consequences. From the vicious theory of balance of fear the criminal conclusion is drawn that war itself fought with nuclear weapons and confined to certain limits may serve as a means of achieving political aims.

Such are the “indisputable truths" propounded by the sense of contentedness. It hopes that they will help it to remove the despondency springing from the fears we have discussed. However, this is nothing more than a speculative illusion giving superficial satisfaction and flimsy hopes, in other words, self-comfort derived from apologetic thinking and an adaptive way of life.

As we have shown, the sense of contentedness is an essentially reformist consciousness. The mystic philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev once wrote that the individual reforms put into effect in capitalist society will continue mending its holes until the social tissue becomes new. [86•* On this score Georgi Plekhanov pointed out that capitalism was established not by mending the holes of the feudal system but as a result of that system’s overthrow by revolution. The same fate awaits capitalism. However much stockings are mended they remain stockings; they do not become gloves even if their entire tissue is renewed.

In effect, the sense of contentedness does not offer solutions for its range of fears, but only tries to fence itself off from them. It has as much grounds for being contented, for being optimistic as a person condemned to death.

Notes

[70•*] Other terms designating post-industrial society are in circulation in Western literature: post-capitalist (K. E. Boulding, R. Dahrendorf), teclmotronic (Z. Brzczinski), post-economic (H. Kahn and A. J. Wiener), super-industrial (A. Toffler). terhnostructural (J. K. Galhraith), technological (J. Ellul).

[70•**] Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. I, Moscow, 1974, p. 21.

[70•***] V. I. Lenin Collected Works, Vol. 22, p. 20;’).

[72•*] See Herman P. Miller, Rich Man, Poor Man, New York, 1964. p. 54.

[72•**] See D. Bell, The Coming of Post-Industrial Society, New York, 1973, p. 294.

[74•*] V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 32, p. 84.

[76•*] V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 25, p. 443.

[77•*] Jean Fourastié. Le grand espoir du XXe siècle, Paris, 1963, p. 9.

[80•*] See Pitirim A. Sorokin, Social and Cultural Mobility, London, 1964, pp. 153, 154.

[83•*] See V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 14, pp. 319–21.

[86•*] See Nikolai Berdyaev, Subjectivism and Individniillsm in Social Philosophy, St. Petersburg, 1901, p. 260 (in Russian).