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Towards Social Renewal

Rethinking the Basis of Society (CW 23)

Rudolf Steiner Translated by Matthew Barton Introduction by Michael Spence

144 pp.  
5 1/2" x 8 1/2"

Rudolf Steiner Press


Published:  April 2000


Written works, published 1919 (CW 23)

Although this book was first published almost a century ago, it remains highly relevant to national and international social problems today. In a unique and still-new approach, Steiner’s social thinking is not based on intellectual theories but on profound perception of the archetypal spiritual nature of society. As he suggests in this classic work, society has three distinct realms—the economic, the political (individual human rights), and the cultural (spiritual). Whereas social life as a whole is a unity, the autonomy of these three sectors need to be acknowledged and respected before our increasing social problems can be resolved.

Steiner relates the ideals of “liberty, equality and fraternity” to modern society. Economics calls for fraternity; political rights require equality; and culture needs to be characterized by liberty. These mottos of the eighteenth-century French Revolution, he suggests, cannot truly manifest until our social thinking is transformed to correspond with the spiritual reality of human social life.



  • Introduction by Michael Spence
  • Preface to the Fourth German Edition (1921)
  • "Preliminary Remarks on the Purpose of this Book" by Rudolf Steiner
  1. The True Dimensions of the Social Question:
    A Contemporary Perspective
  2. Finding Real Solutions to Social Problems:
    Perceiving What Life Asks of Us
  3. Capitalism and Social Ideas:
    Capital, Human Labor
  4. International Relations between Social Organisms
  • Appendix: "To the German People and the Civilized World"
    by Rudolf Steiner
  • Afterword: "On Rudolf Steiner's Appeal to the German People and the Civilized World"
    by Terry Boardman

This volume is a translation from German of Die Kernpunkte der sozialen Frage in den Lebensnotwendigkeiten der Gegenwart und Zukunft (GA 23).

Related Titles

  • Social Issues : Meditative Thinking & the Threefold Social Order (CW 334)
  • Social and Political Science : An Introductory Reader

    Related Titles by Subject:

    Anthroposophy: Social Questions ; Esoteric: Social Questions ; Social Responsibility: New Economics and Social Responsibility: Social Questions