A Functioning Society
Community, Society, and Polity in the Twentieth Century
Peter F. Drucker may be best known as a writer on business and management, but these subjects were not his foremost intellectual concern. Drucker’s primary concerns were community, in which the individual has status, and society, in which the individual has function. Here he has assembled selections from his vast writings on these subjects. This collection presents the full range of Drucker’s thought on community, society, and political structure and constitutes an ideal introduction to his ideas.
The volume is divided into seven parts. The selections in parts 1 and 2 were mostly written during World War Two and in the wake of the Great Depression. Part 3 deals with the limits of governmental competence in the social and economic realm. It contains some of Drucker’s most influential writings concerned with the difference between big government and effective government. The chapters in part 4 explore autonomous centers of power outside government and within society. Part 5 contains chapters from Drucker’s path-breaking work on the corporation as a social organization rather than merely an economic one. The rise of the so-called "knowledge industries" forms the background for part 6. The concluding part 7 is devoted entirely to Drucker’s long essay "The Next Society." Drucker examines the emergence of new institutions and new theories arising from the information revolution and the social changes they are helping to bring about.
In organizing these representative writings, Drucker chose to be topical rather than chronological, with each excerpt presenting a basic theme of his life’s work. As is characteristic of his efforts, A Functioning Society appeals both the general reader as well as a cross-disciplinary scholarly readership.
"Since coming to America more than a half-century ago, Peter Drucker has been high among our creative thinkers, producing a whole bookshelf on management and society, the past and the future. Here is an opportunity to read a cogent selection of his works, picked by the man himself, that shows not only individual insights but an integrated and engaging Weltanschauung."
—Robert L. Bartley, Wall Street Journal