Monday, February 14, 2011

Dr Erich Fromm and how global capitalism destroys the art of loving

This year on St Valentine's Day, it is estimated, we will spend in excess of £40m on flowers, and send 15 million cards and more than 100 million text messages. Worldwide, more than $13bn will be spent. Global capitalism has done for St Valentine's Day, a relatively low-key event in the Christian calendar, what it had already achieved for Christmas, transforming it into a multimillion-dollar spendfest. Yet the very same forces that are so keen to promote the annual festival of love are largely responsible for the disintegration of love in our society........


Love, as defined by (Dr Erich) Fromm, can still be found in modern Britain. Millions of Britons enjoy deep and loving relationships, while the generosity shown by many towards those affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster was an outstanding example of brotherly love in action. Yet where love exists, it does so despite an economic system whose underlying principle is inherently hostile to it.

You can read the whole of my 2005 New Statesman article on how we forgot the art of loving, and why we urgently need to rediscover the work of the great German psychoanalyst and social philosopher Dr Erich Fromm, here.

Happy St Valentine's Day.

6 comments:

Douglas said...

I have a hazy memory of offering to read The Art of Loving in exchange for you reading Atlas Shrugged. Or was it The Road to Serfdom? I'm not quite sure. At any rate, since you wrote about Erich Fromm, I repeat the offer.

John said...

Great article. Relationships in general are too manipulative these days. I know the past wasn't perfect, but our modern culture essentially encourages people to be manipulative and selfish. At least older societies held up a different ideal, even if it was not always followed in practice.

jock mctrousers said...

Well, let me make YOU an offer Douglas. I'll read Atlas Shrugged if YOU read William Burroughs' ' the Naked Lunch', and I'll ask you questions to check you read it all.

Douglas said...

@jock mctrousers - If I get to question you in a similar manner that you question me, I accept your offer.

jock mctrousers said...

cool

Madam Miaow said...

This sounds close to how I feel about our capacity for love being screwed by social conditions. I've known of Fromm for years and I think it's about time I read him. Thanks for the article, Neil.