What is Public Consciousness

Public consciousness and society

Is public consciousness even able to sensibly control today's "free" society? This question arises after studying the book "The haphazard elites" by Peter Glotz, Rita Süssmuth and Konrad Seitz. Your theses:

1. After the collapse of communist societies, the social leadership elites in Europe and especially in Germany lack a long-term strategy for leading social processes.

2. Despite all democracy, the cultural progress of complex societies depends on the activity of quite small minorities who, like it or not, set an example in their societies.

3. In the Federal Republic of Germany there are 4 functional elites who essentially determine social life:

- the political elite (professional politicians, administrative bureaucracy, military, diplomats, political journalists). Your public image is declining rapidly at the moment.

- the economic elite (owners and managers of banks and industry, middle class, union leaders). She is successful and has a high public reputation.

- the scientific elite (scientific staff at colleges, universities and research institutions). It is split up into specialists who talk far too little to one another.

- the cultural elite (culture-producing and culture-mediating intelligentsia, media of all kinds, churches and sects). They are essentially busy fighting one another.

The four functional elites are too isolated from one another and, moreover, unwilling to enter into dialogue.

4. In the crucial economic questions, Germany overslept the race for technological leadership and the transformation of the industrial society into an information society compared to Japan and the USA. The economic theories are still oriented towards the classic industrial society. The development of high-tech industries requires cooperation between industry and the state, an overall strategy of industrial and foreign trade policy, which the federal government has no institutional prerequisites for developing and controlling. There is no future-oriented culture.

5. The uncontrolled growth of telecommunication leads to chaotically commercialized communication systems and to the destruction of cultural commonalities, to the ever increasing individualization of cultural needs, to the destruction of the classical publics, to a destruction of public consciousness and to a polarization between a first-class informed minority and a majority ill-informed in many fields.

6. The functional elites of the Federal Republic have not yet grasped the challenges of the ecological crisis. As a result, environmental innovations must come more from the municipalities and regions.

7. The German education system is out of date and is about to be transformed into a mass enterprise that is neither able to satisfy the specific requirements of the wide-ranging occupational profiles nor to convey an integrating educational idea. As a result, various contradicting proposals for reform are being made.

8. The political elite is a largely self-contained caste that is increasingly losing its reputation. The pluralistic understanding of democracy forces politicians to constantly pretend that they can control and control processes that cannot be controlled in any way. Politics has lost some of its power, the state has become weaker, the economy stronger, if this continues, we will end up with ungovernability.

9. The role of intellectuals will continue to grow over the next few years. They are both the leaders and the employees not only of the ruling class but of its opponents as well, but far from exercising some kind of priestly rule.

10. Women are extremely underrepresented in the functional elite. It is emphasized again and again that this cannot be due to the intellectual abilities, but that the problem of reconciling family and work could also play a role is only mentioned at the end of half of a total of 23 pages.

11. Germany must be integrated into a united Europe because otherwise it cannot compete economically with Japan and the USA. Europe must first be unified as Western Europe, because the Eastern countries z. Are currently not relevant for Europe's economic power. Only for the united Western Europe can Eastern Europe become interesting as a business partner.

12. Conclusion: In the book "The haphazard elites" the desolate state of capitalist society is shown. The future of Germany is only seen in the organization of Europe's economic supremacy over Japan and the USA. This goal requires the strategic planning of future industrial and foreign trade policy and the creation of corresponding central control bodies. In this respect, but only in this respect, is it consistent with the general strategy of evolution. The next but one step, which requires decisive measures to overcome the ecological crisis, is only mentioned in passing, while the need for a fundamental change in the social system remains completely outside the horizon of knowledge, which is not surprising in view of the social position of the authors.


The above text was created in 2004, but the situation described has hardly changed so far.


Bertram Koehler