Skylark Books

World Economy - Rudolf Steiner lectures on economics and the Threefold Social OrderWorld Economy
14 lectures by Rudolf Steiner

At the end of the First World War, in striking contrast to President Wilson’s ‘self-determination of nations’, Rudolf Steiner was proposing for the rebuilding of Europe, the division of the social organism into three separate spheres, dealing respectively with cultural and educational affairs, with matters of human rights, and with economics and production. Each sphere was to have its own frontiers, character and objective, and the whole was to offer the ground for a renewal of culture based on a social order which is natural and intrinsic to all life.

The lecture series, World Economy, deals principally with the economic sphere, but it has also much to say concerning its relation with, and dependence on, the other spheres as well.

Although the form in which Steiner first developed his proposals for a ‘threefold commonwealth’ was oriented towards Central Europe and the circumstances of the time, they are based on deep insight into the new social and economic forces which were then so plainly emerging but were so little understood.

The prevalent modes of thinking of the day were not ready for Steiner’s radical proposals; but today we are being forced by the inadequacy of our social and economic institutions to look for solutions which grow from a deep understanding of man himself. It is in the light of such an understanding that Steiner approaches such crucial questions as the relation of wages to production, the proper function of capital, finance and the different forms of money; the ownership of land—and many other matters of vital importance to our modern commercial society. Behind this economic analysis stands the picture of a truly human society, in which man can find himself as producer, as citizen, and as free agent in harmony with his fellow men.

Trans: A. O. Barfield, T. Gordon-Jones
14 lectures, Dornach 24 July to 6 Aug 1922, GA340
Rudolf Steiner Press
187pp; paperback
ISBN: 0 85440 266 7

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Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) called his spiritual philosophy 'anthroposophy', which he defined as 'the consciousness of one's humanity', and the disciplined methods of studying this he termed ‘spiritual science’.  As a highly developed clairvoyant and spiritual initiate, he spoke from his direct cognition of the spiritual world. However, he did not see his work as religious or sectarian, but rather sought to found a universal 'science of the spirit'.

His many published works (written books and lectures) - which include his research into the spiritual nature of the human being, the evolution of the world and humanity, and methods of personal development - invite readers to develop their own spiritual faculties.  He also provided indications for the renewal of many human activities, including education - both general and special - agriculture, medicine, economics, architecture, science, philosophy, religion and the arts. He wrote some 30 books and delivered over 6000 lectures across Europe, and in 1924 founded the General Anthroposophical Society which today has branches throughout the world.


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