INSOFAR AS Western Europe is beginning to resemble the United States-in respect to income levels, social fluidity, and the breakdown of inherited class and caste structures-its society begins to reproduce some of the patterns of a modern industrial democracy with which Americans are familiar. Concurrently, there arises the problem of reshuffling the traditional division into agrarian-conservative, bourgeois-liberal, and labor-socialist (or communist) parties. These divisions stem from the “first industrial revolution,” and are now in part outmoded, at any rate in the more advanced regions of Western Europe. The traditional class structure-landed proprietors, bourgeois owners of industry and commerce, industrial proletariat-which underlies the familiar Marxist three-class model, has begun to dissolve under the impact of technological change and social upheaval. At the same time, the role of the state has changed; from an “executive committee of the bourgeoisie” (in Marx’s familiar phrase–originally coined in 1848, when Louis Philippe was on the throne of France’s “bourgeois monarchy”) it has turned into the arbiter of a society in which capital and labor confront each other as equals, while the growing technocratic and managerial stratum aspires to the coordinating role. Hence the problem of formulating a political doctrine that responds to the altered situation without renouncing traditional attachments.
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