Last modified on 12 April 2014, at 12:03

Daniel Bell

The one thing that would utterly destroy the new capitalism is the serious practice of deferred gratification.

Daniel Bell (May 10, 1919January 25, 2011) was an American sociologist, writer, editor, and professor emeritus at Harvard University, best known for his seminal contributions to the study of post-industrialism. He has been described as "one of the leading American intellectuals of the postwar era.

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The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism (1976)Edit

  • That fabulous polymath Samuel Johnson maintained that no man in his right mind ever read a book through from beginning to end.
    • Foreword: 1978, p. xi
  • Religions grow out of the deepest needs of individuals sharing a common awakening, and are not created by "engineers of the soul."
    • Foreword: 1978, p. xxix
  • Nihilism, then, is the end process of rationalism. It is man's self conscious will to destroy his past and control his future. It is modernity at its extreme.
    • Introduction, The Disjunction of Realms, p. 4
  • Modern culture is defined by this extraordinary freedom to ransack the world storehouse and to engorge any and every style it comes upon.
    • Introduction, The Disjunction of Realms, p. 13
  • It is equally clear that what an individual often wants for himself (such as an open highway) in the aggregate becomes a nightmare.
    • Introduction, The Disjunction of Realms, p. 21
  • The relationship between a civilization's socio-economic structure and its culture is perhaps the most complicated of all problems for the sociologist.
    • Chapter 1, The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism, p. 33
  • The one thing that would utterly destroy the new capitalism is the serious practice of deferred gratification.
    • Chapter 1, The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism, p. 78
  • When a person is confirmed by others, there has to be some sign of recognition.
    • Chapter 2, The Disjunction of Cultural Discourse, p. 90
  • Today, the culture can hardly, if at all, reflect the society in which people live.
    • Chapter 2, The Disjunction of Cultural Discourse, p. 95
Today, the culture can hardly, if at all, reflect the society in which people live.
  • Television, as the most "public" of media, has its limits.
    • Chapter 2, The Disjunction of Cultural Discourse, p. 108
  • Art is not life, but in a sense something contrary to life, since life is transient and changing, while art is permanent.
    • Chapter 3, The Sensibility of the Sixties, p. 124
  • If the language of art is not accessible to ordinary language and ordinary experience, how can it be accessible to ordinary people?
    • Chapter 3, The Sensibility of the Sixties, p. 131
  • The democratization of genius is made possible by the fact while one can quarrel with judgments, one cannot quarrel with feelings.
    • Chapter 3, The Sensibility of the Sixties, p. 134
  • Every society seeks to establish a set of meanings through which people can relate themselves to the world.
    • Chapter 4, Toward the Great Instauration, p. 146
  • Where religions fail, cults appear.
    • Chapter 4, Toward the Great Instauration, p. 168
  • Crime is a form of "unorganized" class struggle, and the lowest groups in the society have always committed a disproportionate number of crimes.
    • Chapter 5, Unstable America, p. 189
  • The discussion of any society risks seduction by what is transient and tumultuous.
    • Chapter 5, Unstable America, p. 191
  • No one can buy his share of "clean air" in the market; one has to use communal mechanisms in order to deal with pollution.
    • Chapter 5, Unstable America, p. 196
  • The virtue of the market is that it disperses responsibility.
    • Chapter 5, Unstable America, p. 197
  • The demand for group rights will widen in the society, because social life increasingly becomes organized on a group basis.
    • Chapter 5, Unstable America, p. 198
  • It is important to realize that the market economy, though it is associated historically with the rise of modern private capitalism, is as a mechanism not necessarily limited to that system.
    • Chapter 6, The Public Household, p. 223
The virtue of the market is that it disperses responsibility.
  • No one "voted in" the market economy and the industrial revolution, but today issues of direction of the economy, costs, redress, priorities, and goals all have become matters of conscious and debated social policy.
    • Chapter 6, The Public Household, p. 226
  • Gadgets can be engineered, programs can be designed, institutions can be built, but belief has an organic quality, and it cannot be called into being by fiat. Once a faith is shattered, it takes a long time to grow again - for its soil is experience - and to become effective again.
    • Chapter 6, The Public Household, p. 244
  • What makes the spectacle of Western bourgeois society so repulsive is the waste and squander of resources on needless products of status or display (e.g., the large, heavy automobile; the extravagant packaging of consumer items) for the sake of consumption.
    • Chapter 6, The Public Household, p. 274

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