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Aldous Huxley’s Anarchist Entrepreneurship Based on Spiritual Capital

  • Gerrit De VylderEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novel Brave New World (1932) is a tale of a technocratic world where man has lost its identity, individuality and freedom, all replaced by a false and artificial feeling of happiness. Very soon after its publication Huxley started arguing that his novel had become a reality. The economy was increasingly based on mass production combined with mass distribution and a high capital concentration, destroying the middle classes. In both communist and capitalist states, a ‘power elite’ was increasingly controlling a reservoir of slaves, conditioned by marketing (by huge capitalist corporations) or propaganda (by a communist state). In short, Huxley identified an invisible slavery which is normal ‘only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society’. Huxley’s answer was to convert entrepreneurs and leaders into ‘pragmatic contemplatives’, reacting against a basic contradiction in the socio-economic system. On the one hand, producers and consumers have actually become slaves to a large-scale, all-controlling and centralizing state-capitalist system. On the other hand, in theory rising labor productivity should allow people, including entrepreneurs and leaders, to focus leisure and contemplation. This contradiction invites contemplation and action becoming part of a circle where both are at the same time a means and an end. Instead of abusing spirituality ‘on the working floor’ to increase productivity even more, the seeds should be sown for a new kind of ‘anarchist’ (outside the ‘system’) entrepreneurship, based on ‘spiritual capital’.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Catholic University of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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