An Introduction to Modern Social and Political Thought by Andrew Gamble

By Andrew Gamble

This ebook is a concise consultant to the most doctrines and traits in Western social and political notion because the French Revolution. basically and easily written, the booklet comprises short biographical information of significant person thinkers in addition to an annotated bibliography which supplies tips to additional examining.

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Aided by the unprecedented explosion of population a mass society comes into being whose members are far more isolated than the members of traditional communities which tended to be organised in large family groups. These appeared self-sufficient, inwardlooking, and patriarchal, the head of the family enjoying great authority and control over the lives of the members of his family and his dependants. In this theory the basic agent of change from traditional to modem society is seen as technology and the new rationalist 34 MODERN SOCIAL AND POLITICAL THOUGHT and individualist ethos associated with it.

The rational soul . . wanders round the whole world and through the encompassing void, and gazes into infinite time, and considers the periodic destruction and rebirths of the universe, and reflects that our posterity will see nothing new, and that our ancestors saw nothing greater than we have seen. A man of forty years, possessing the most moderate intelligence, may be said to have seen all that is past and all that is to come; so uniform is the world. Classical thinkers were pessimistic about the human prospect because of their belief that no golden age awaited mankind in the future.

It should be obvious even from so brief an account as this that a market is a highly precarious and artifical thing, since a basic security for property, contracts and money must exist in order to guarantee a degree of certainty sufficient to make individual production and exchange flourish; yet at the same time such security does not flow spontaneously from the 38 MODERN SOCIAL AND POLITICAL THOUGHT interaction of the producers, nor can any individual producer ensure it. Only a centralised power which enjoys legitimacy and can enforce obedience can do that.

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