Perishable Money in a Threefold Commonwealth

Rudolf Steiner and the Social Economics of an Anarchist Utopia

ABSTRACT: Austrian mystic Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) devoted significant portions of speculative activity to social and economic questions. During the interwar period, he delivered remarkable lectures on the nature of economics and the physiology of the social order. He fashioned analyses consonant with the intuitions of monetary reformer Silvio Gesell. And, particularly, he provided penetrating insight into the (perishable) nature of money, distribution, and the fundamental notion of the gift.

In sum, his blueprint for social Utopia was the threefold social order, whereby three independent systems of collective life (economy, state, and arts and sciences) are conceived to function as a harmonious whole. Steiner’s contribution to the social sciences, naturally obliterated in our opportunistic times of “ultra-economism,” would thus deservedly occupy a preeminent place among heterodox thought that awaits impatiently the demise of modern capitalism’s unreasoning appetites with a view to refashioning an alternative, more humane economy.

In Review of Radical Political Economics, Vol. 38 n.4 (2006): 619-648

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