THE JOHN HARVARD LIBRARY
Cover: The New Basis of Civilization in HARDCOVER

The New Basis of Civilization

Currently unavailable

Product Details

HARDCOVER

$61.50 • £49.95 • €55.50

ISBN 9780674609013

Publication Date: 01/01/1968

Short

280 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

Belknap Press

The John Harvard Library

World

Related Subjects

“At the turn of the present century, when the idea of a transition from an age of scarcity to an era of abundance was first explored by a few American social scientists, the overwhelming weight of professional and lay opinion in Europe and the United States defended the assumption of scarcity. When Simon Patten articulated his belief that enough goods and services would be produced in the foreseeable future to provide every human being with the requisites for survival, he was a lonely forerunner of the present tenuous consensus… For a generation, the concept of abundance was synonymous with Simon Patten. He raised issues which still disturb those who speculate about ways to improve the quality of American life.”—from the Introduction

Simon Patten was professor of economics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania from 1887 until his death in 1917. Throughout his working life he sought to justify his conviction that men could create and sustain an age of abundance by developing appropriate restraints. He was an early believer in the enforcement of contract laws that were pro-labor, in the limitation of consumer credit, and in restraints on speculation. He insisted that progress was hindered mainly by ignorance and prejudice, which could be overcome by a higher standard of living, by education, and by increased opportunity for everyone. Patten’s activities coincided with the growth of philanthropy in America, and he was one of the earliest promoters of professional social work.

In The New Basis of Civilization, originally published in 1907, Patten tried to modify traditional assumptions about the permanence of poverty, the effects of a more equitable distribution of wealth, and the possibility of substantial improvements in the standard of living. The new basis of an abundant civilization required, in his view, new strategies and tactics for planning and implementing social change.

In his Introduction, Daniel M. Fox examines the reasons Patten accepted the idea of abundance half a century before it achieved popularity, and shows how the concept of abundance became part of the way a significant number of Americans look at the world.

Recent News

From Our Blog

Jacket: Virtue Politics: Soulcraft and Statecraft in Renaissance Italy, by James Hankins, from Harvard University Press

Q&A with James Hankins, author of Virtue Politics: Soulcraft and Statecraft in Renaissance Italy

With Virtue Politics, James Hankins has delivered a bold, revisionist account of the political thought of the Italian Renaissance—from Petrarch to Machiavelli—that reveals the all-important role of character in shaping society, both in citizens and in their leaders. We spoke to him about the importance of virtue to leadership in Renaissance Italy—and its relevance to our own time.

‘manifold glories of classical Greek and Latin’

The digital Loeb Classical Library (loebclassics.com) extends the founding mission of James Loeb with an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature.