Creative Altruism: The Prospects for a Common Humanity in the Age of Globalization

by Jay Weinstein


This essay examines some of the ways in which applied sociology can contribute to the repertoire of responses that are available to those seeking to maximize the social benefits and minimize the social costs associated with the phenomenon commonly referred to as “globalization.” Based on the later work of Pitirim A. Sorokin – founder and first Chair of the Department of Sociology at Harvard University, we propose to revitalize the concept of creative altruism and to promote its widespread adoption as a tool of planned sociocultural change. In the course of this discussion, we focus on the relationship between altruism and “coming to species consciousness,” as understood by classical philosophers and the earliest sociologists, by Sorokin himself, and by contemporary researchers – especially Kristin Renwick Monroe. We conclude that the ideal of one world at peace can be achieved – and, indeed must be achieved when the alternatives are considered – through the conscientious application of altruistic thought and practice.

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