Social threefolding (Wikipedia)

About: Social threefolding - Wikipedia

Social threefolding is an ideology from Rudolf Steiner suggesting the progressive independence of society’s economicpolitical and cultural institutions. It aims to foster:

human rights and equality in political life,

freedom in cultural life (art, science, religion, education, the media), and

- associative cooperation in economic life. The idea was first proposed by Rudolf Steiner in the great cultural ferment immediately following the end of the First World War, the Interwar period.

Steiner suggested the cooperative independence of these three societal realms could either be achieved through a gradual transformation of existing societal structures,[1] or through a "clean sweep" at a "big scale."[2] Steiner believed that the three social spheres had very gradually, over thousands of years, been growing independent of each other, and would naturally tend to continue to do so, and that consciously furthering aspects of this independence thus works in accordance with society’s natural evolution.

Steiner held it to be socially destructive when one of the three spheres attempts to dominate the others; for example, theocracy means a cultural impulse dominates economy and politics; unregulated and socially irresponsible varieties of capitalism allow economic interests to dominate politics and culture; and state socialism means political agendas dominate culture and economic life. A more specific example: Arthur Salter, 1st Baron Salter suggests governments frequently fail when they begin to give "discretionary, particularly preferential privileges to competitive industry."[3] The goal is for this independence to arise in such a way that those three realms can provide mutual balance.

Many concrete reform proposals to advance a "threefold social order" at various scales have been advanced since 1919. Some intentionally cooperative businesses and organizations, mostly in Europe, have attempted to realize a balance between the three spheres, within local structures. Waldorf schools deserve special mention in this regard.[4] Another application has been the creation of various socially responsible banks and foundations. Bernard Lievegoed incorporated significant aspects of social threefolding in his work on organizational development.