* The Abstract Nature of Modern Economic Life

A Lecture given by Rudolf Steiner, 15.9.1920, Stuttgart. Published in English in Rudolf Steiner, Economist (1996).

Available at the Centre for Associative Economics.


Associative Economics

All cultural development flows from researching our experience. Economics is no exception – the more so when one takes seriously Steiner’s image that “the economic life of a particular time, and the spiritual life of a particular time (the times are not quite identical), hold the same relation as a nut to its shell; the economic life is invariably the shell which the spiritual life has thrown out. It takes its cast from the spiritual life. Today’s abstract economic life is, therefore, the product of an abstract spiritual life. That is why today we are in an age of abstract thinking, of life-remoteness – unreal conjunctures and such things.” * This means that any new approach to, or further evolution of economic life has to proceed from research through policy to practice. But it must proceed out of freely-funded research, not at the behest of commercial or political interests, or on a basis of unclear thinking.