The imminent arrival of “one world” was predicted by Fromm in a lecture in 1962 at which he declared that it would be probably the most revolutionary event in the history of mankind.1 Pointing to the internationalization of production and the innovations in communications as indicators of this emergent globalization, the problem he poses is whether this world will be a place we can live in harmoniously or whether it will end as one great battlefield. His response turns on a dichotomy that he describes between a humanist tradition and a tribalist one. He identifies the humanist tradition with an affirmation of the equality of all people in the world, and quotes Cicero as stating, “you must now conceive of this whole universe as one commonwealth, of which both gods and men are members.”2 According to Fromm, the humanist task is to find a new harmony in life through the development of human powers, to achieve the realization of the essence of humanity. This language of human essence and its realization would have been no less strange to the audience in 1962 than it is today, and Fromm recognizes and laments the evanescence of the humanist tradition. He comments that the essence of man will become important only at a time when the experience of man is alive again.3


World Trade Organization National Identity Global Governance Soap Opera Moral Legitimation 
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    Erich Fromm, “A New Humanism as a Condition for the One World” in Fromm, On Being Human (New York: Continuum, 1998), p. 61. The lecture was delivered at Sherwood Hall in La Jolla, California.Google Scholar
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© Lawrence Wilde 2004

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