In This Review

The Modern Social Conflict
The Modern Social Conflict
By Ralf Dahrendorf
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1988, 219 pp
Purchase

Writing from a rich experience in both public service and public philosophy, Ralf Dahrendorf is well placed to describe the road political man has traveled since World War II and to weigh his prospects for the future. Drawing on Max Weber, Raymond Aron and others, and on his own analysis of developments in the Western democracies, he weaves a pattern in which the twin drives for "entitlements" (civil rights and welfare) and "provisions" (economic initiatives and growth) are often, but not necessarily, in conflict. A social democrat, he sees the declining vigor of traditional social democracy and the need for a new liberal agenda, a new "social contract" and a "world civil society." Not utopian musing, it is uncommon practical wisdom.