Political Ideals

Front Cover
Arc Manor, 2008 - Philosophy - 84 pages
11 Reviews
Originally published in 1917, this early work by Bertrand Russell still offers much thought-provoking material on the subject of political philosophy. Russell criticizes both capitalism and socialism based on his strong conviction that everything of value comes ultimately from the individual. The only true aim of politics, he says, is to give free play, as far as possible, to every person's natural creativity. This means that political systems should be designed to curb the deadening forces of acquisition, power, and convention, all of which tend to stifle individual creative impulses. Russell names four main goals that an ideal political system should accomplish: the greatest possible production of goods and technical progress; securing distributive justice; ensuring security against destitution; and, most importantly, the liberation of creative impulses and the limiting of possessive impulses. While capitalism efficiently accomplishes the first goal--producing goods and fostering technological innovation--it does little to guarantee the remaining goals. On the other hand, socialism offers little incentive to creativity and is notoriously inefficient in the production of goods and in technological progress, even though it goes a long way toward ensuring equitable distribution of wealth and eliminating the specter of destitution. But individual liberty is subordinated to the demands of the state. Russell suggests that in an ideal system there would be autonomy within each politically important group and the principle of employee-ownership and self-governance within businesses would be the norm. Government would serve only as a neutral authority to decide questions between the variousself-governing groups. Vintage Russell, this collection of concise essays should be on the bookshelf of everyone interested in political science or the relation of the individual to society.

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Review: Political Ideals

User Review  - Sam Motes - Goodreads

Similar in content to Russell's "Roads to Freedom" but much more quotable and thought provoking. Russell continues his push for a global perspective that will take something beyond Capitalism to ... Read full review

Review: Political Ideals

User Review  - Nii Amon - Goodreads

Amazing book. Required reading for all. Read full review

About the author (2008)

Bertrand Arthur William Russell (1872-1970) was a British philosopher, logician, essayist and social critic. He was best known for his work in mathematical logic and analytic philosophy. Together with G.E. Moore, Russell is generally recognized as one of the main founders of modern analytic philosophy. Together with Kurt Gödel, he is regularly credited with being one of the most important logicians of the twentieth century. Over the course of a long career, Russell also made contributions to a broad range of subjects, including the history of ideas, ethics, political and educational theory, and religious studies. General readers have benefited from his many popular writings on a wide variety of topics. After a life marked by controversy--including dismissals from both Trinity College, Cambridge, and City College, New York--Russell was awarded the Order of Merit in 1949 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950. Noted also for his many spirited anti-nuclear protests and for his campaign against western involvement in the Vietnam War, Russell remained a prominent public figure until his death at the age of 97.

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