BHIKHU PARERH (ED.), THE CONCEPT OF SOCIALISM, Ambika Publications, New Delhi and Groom Helm Limited, London 1976. 242 pp. Rs 55.
THIS BOOK is a collection of essays exclusively written by British contributors who have been espousing socialism as an article of faith and a way of life.
In his ^Introduction" Parekh assumes an academic stance of neutrality as he finds liberal, conservative, and socialist writers holding parochial attitudes towards political doctrines other than their own. "Each political doctrine defines itself and is defined by others59, he says, ^in a manner that suits their respective interests" and discovers two factors responsible for this lopsidedness: first, moral, cultural, political and other biases influencing these writers' ideology; and second, their failure to analyze the logical structure of political doctrines and to seek their identity. Alternatively he suggests that for the proper study of a political doctrine one has to establish a threefold structure: a metaphysic or a general view of the universe, a conception of man and society, and a programme of action to achieve the desired goal. Thereafter he deals with the criticism of the bourgeois concept of man and society and the socialist alternative, changes that have taken place in socialist thought, the basic principles of socialism and his own apprehension of the loss of man's individuality in a communist society.
Parekh's own article ^Marx's Theory of Man" is a purely expository piece: his approach does not show a commitment to any side: he examines Marx's indebtedness to and differences with Fichte, Hegel, and Feurbach and divides his study of Marx's concept of man in four sections: ^Man as a Natural Being", ^Man as a Human Being", ^The Dialectical Integration", and ^The Communist Man".
Tracing the history of socialist ideas in Europe, Victor Kiernan