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Proposed Roads to Freedom

Bertrand Russell

Book Overview: 

Bertrand Russell, was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, political activist and Nobel laureate. He led the British “revolt against idealism” in the early 1900s and is considered one of the founders of analytic philosophy along with his predecessor Gottlob Frege and his protégé Ludwig Wittgenstein. In this book, he offers his assessment of three competing streams in the thought of the political left: Marxian socialism, anarchism and syndicalism.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .nk that the natures of clay and wood desire this application of compasses and square, of arc and line? Nevertheless, every age extols Po Lo for his skill in managing horses, and potters and carpenters for their skill with clay and wood. Those who govern the empire make the same mistake.

Now I regard government of the empire from quite a different point of view.

The people have certain natural instincts:—to weave and clothe themselves, to till and feed themselves. These are common to all humanity, and all are agreed thereon. Such instincts are called ``Heaven-sent.''

And so in the days when natural instincts prevailed, men moved quietly and gazed steadily. At that time there were no roads over mountains, nor boats, nor bridges over water. All things were produced, each for its own proper sphere. Birds and beasts multiplied, trees and shrubs grew up. The former might be led by the hand; you could climb up and peep into . . . Read More

Community Reviews

Highlighting the effects of nature and society on man's decision-making, Russell in his introduction states that "THE attempt to conceive imaginatively a better ordering of human society than the destructive and cruel chaos in which mankind has hitherto existed is by no means modern..."
I rather appr

This book gives a very concise and informative overview of the systems of anarchism, syndicalism and socialism; and propounds Russell’s views as to the most desirable form of societal organisation.

Regarding Russell’s views, his attempt to fuse a realistic view of human nature with more utopiast-incl

Russell discusses movements / theories to change society to eliminate capitalism's problems. He considers socialism / Marxism, anarchism / Bakuninism, syndicalism and "guild socialism." I may differ with an assumption or conclusion, but his questions deserve consideration. The book was written 100 y

This is an excellent little book promoting a form of guild socialism, as opposed to state socialism or pure anarchism. It's probably the most anti-utopian, anti-idealist account of a socialist society I've yet read (which isn't to say that it doesn't have its moments). It's fair and level-headed, an

Cringe inducing sections on "inferior races" and a lot of arguments for a "vagabond wage"/universal basic income at the poverty line.

This is great for a historic look back at these philosophies. This was written almost one hundred years ago, so the implications of these different philosophies has changed over the years, but we need to know where we have been to figure out where we are going.

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