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Dictatorship, State Planning, and Social Theory in the German Democratic Republic
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Details

  • 11 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 232 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.51 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 335.43/0943/1
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: HX280.5.A6 C35 2003
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Socialism--Germany (East)--History

Library of Congress Record

Hardback

 (ISBN-13: 9780521820905 | ISBN-10: 0521820901)

The introduction of state planning and party dictatorship dramatically altered the environment for social theory in the German Democratic Republic. But social thought did not disappear. By the mid-1950s, East German social theorists discovered the basic contradictions of state socialism that would eventually lead to its collapse: the inability of the plan to function without markets and its inability to permit markets; the inability of the party-state to guarantee the rule of law and yet also the need for a regular system of rules in a modern industrial society; and the contradictory philosophical claims of a Marxist-Leninist philosophy that rejected idealism, and Marxist-Leninist dogma with its idealistic claim to know the laws of social modernization. Making use of archival sources, Caldwell examines the articulation of these analyses, their subsequent suppression by party authorities in the late 1950s, and their return under the guise of cybernetics in the 1960s.

• By explaining central economic planning, answers, critically and judiciously, what the architects of state socialism were thinking • Jargon-free account that renders difficult material comprehensible to the non-specialist reader • Places the GDR in a larger context of continuing relevance, that of current social theory and planned or coerced economic development

Contents

List of illustrations; Preface; Acknowledgements; Introduction: modernization, modernity and the plan; 1. The economics of state socialism: productivity and the law of value; 2. The legal theory of state socialism: socialist legality, the laws of historical development and the plan; 3. Philosophy and state socialism: consciousness, dialectical materialism and hope; 4. From planning metaphysics to cybernetics: planning, technique and politics after revisionism; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.

Reviews

'This is an important book. It provides a rare, concise and penetrating analysis of East German theorists' reactions to the evolving problems of socialism in the GDR … a highly readable introduction to some of the major intellectual debates during the Ulbricht years … excellent book … Caldwell has written an important study which will reward its readers with a much more sophisticated understanding of the GDR and its intellectual climate. For this reason, the book is not just important reading for those interested in social and political theory, but also for those interested in the political, cultural and everyday history of the GDR.' German History

'… engaging and thoroughly readable …' Totalitarianism and Democracy

'… Peter C. Caldwell's present work superbly details how the GDR's own economists and intellectuals had clearly foreseen, already in the 1950s, the quagmire, and tyranny, that an 'economically planned' and 'consciously directed' society would lead to. In an engaging and thoroughly readable monograph, Caldwell examines the economy, law, and social philosophy in the GDR from 1949 to 1968 … Caldwell's project is ambitious, broad, and largely successful.' Totalitarismus und Demokratie

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