Erich Fromm: Society, consumption and affluence

One of the ‘lesser’ figures of the Frankfurt School of critical theory, psychoanalyst and social theorist Dr. Erich Fromm was certainly one of the most accessible -- I did find his ‘To Have or to Be?’ and ‘Escape from Freedom’ lucid reads, with much less of deciphering to engage with. As a person of orthodox Jewish faith fleeing Nazi persecution in the 1930s (like many other intellectuals of the Frankfurt school, and like political theorist Hannah Arendt), Fromm began studying and theorizing about the nature of human freedom, equality, mass industrial society, consumption and happiness. His work throughout was broadly enveloped in a Marxian humanistic democratic spirit, and his general distaste for warfare and mass manipulation of a bureaucratized society, finds voice in many a page of his publications. These are two instances of Dr. Erich Fromm sharing his ideas, first via an interview with American journalist Michael Wallace in May of 1958, and the second is a lecture to the community at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in October of 1964. Some of his ideas stick, some don’t, some were remarkably prophetic. Listen in.

The Mike Wallace Interview: Erich Fromm (1958-05-25)

1. Interview, May, 1958.

Erich Fromm speaking at UCLA 10/30/1964

2. Lecture at the UCLA, October, 1964.

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