The Threefold Social Organism is detailed:
"Today it is already possible to elaborate at length upon the necessity of the social organism and to establish a scientific basis for it in every detail."
A "Social Organism" is another name for "Country", and a Threefold Social Organism is a tri-sector transformation of a Country:
"The social goals described here, although valid for humanity in general, can be realized by each individual social organism regardless of other countries' initial attitudes."
All the details necessary to pioneer a full-blown Threefold country are already available:
"Just take this concrete fact, that our weekly paper, Dreigliederung des sozialen Organismus, has already brought out 49 issues—49 issues. Take these 49 issues [many of which are available in the compilation Renewal of the Social Organism], read them through in succession, and you will see what an amount we have collected in them of practically all the things which it is more immediately necessary for mankind to know about the Threefold question."
In a Threefold Country, instead of a National Government, there are three independent sectors for Economic, Political, and Cultural affairs:
"The health of the organism requires its division into three independent systems: a spiritual, a legal and an economic."
The three sectors in one country will be as independent from each other as are present-day national governments:
"These three should confront one another just as independent States do today. They should deal with one another through their representatives, ordering their mutual relationships, but in themselves they should enjoy independent sovereignty."
"The necessary contact between the responsible persons of the legal and economic bodies will ensue in a manner similar to that at present practiced by the governments of sovereign states."
Each of the three sectors has its own leadership, so that there are Economic and Cultural equivalents of the Political legislature and Political executive:
"Healthy cooperation cannot be attained by means of a single legislative and administrative organ, but by each system having its own mutually cooperating legislature and administration."
"The economic area will form its legislative and administrative bodies in accordance with economic impulses."
"These two spheres of the social organism must now be joined by a third that is shaped quite independently, from within its own life-possibilities — the cultural sphere, with its own legitimate order and administration."
"Today you will always see one Cabinet, one Parliament. Indeed, it seems an ideal for the people of today to gather everything together chaotically into a single Parliament. But as I said, the reality of things is tending to hold apart what is here being concentrated into one. The spiritual life (including judicial — I do not mean general administration, but the administration of civil and criminal law) constitutes one member by itself. The economic life a second member; and the life that regulates the two, constitutes the third — general administration, public security, and the like."
The Economic administration and the Cultural administration are not parliamentary—they are not democratically elected. Whereas the Political administration is formed by democratic elections, with all adult citizens having an equal voice, the Economic and Cultural administrations are founded on different principles. "Parliamentary" and "Democratic" are not the key qualities of the Economic and Cultural sectors.
[In the Cultural administration] "Not that the opinion of every person capable of forming a judgment will be authoritative. Parliamentary administration must be deprived of all authority over the Cultural body. Whoever believes that it is intended that a democratic parliament should again rule here quite misunderstands the impulse for bringing into existence the social organism consisting of three members."
"The same holds good in the Economic sphere. The Economic life has its own roots and must be governed in accordance with the conditions of its own nature. The manner in which business is carried on cannot be allowed to be judged democratically by every grown-up person, but only by someone who is engaged in some branch of economic life, who is capable in his branch and knows the links that connect his own branch with others."
"Beside the Political Parliament administering the equitable position of the individual vis-à-vis the whole, and of the people vis-à-vis the international world, and beside the Economic Council to deal with the material foundations of the people's life, we need a Cultural Council for the promotion of spiritual affairs." [from an article written by a musician friend of Rudolf Steiner, whom Steiner quotes in this lecture]
The names "Economic Council" and "Cultural Council" are offered as equivalents of the Political Parliament:
"This Cultural Council was founded a year ago this May and it has already faded out, is forgotten."
Besides the political Head of State, there is a person or body that serves as "Head of the Economy", and a person or body which serves as "Head of Culture":
"(Notwithstanding their mutual independence) the central authorities at the head of each [of the three sectors] will be able to harmonize their various measures."
Besides the three "legislatures" and executives, there is an inter-sector body (perhaps called a "Senate") with a third of its body made up of representatives from each of the three administrations. This Senate negotiates the relationship between the sectors.
"A kind of Senate—elected from the three bodies that have the task of ordering the political-military, the economic, the juridical-education affairs—looks after the common interests, including, for example, the joint finances."
"The greatest possible guarantee that one sphere of the threefold organism cannot be violated by another lies in their union, effected by the total corporate body consisting of the delegates of the three central administrations and agencies."
Renewal of the Social Organism
The Economic functions of the present-day Government are transferred to the Economic sector:
"The endeavours which have already begun to be realized by those in authority to turn certain economic functions (post office, railroads, etc.) over to the state must be reversed; the state must be relieved of all economic functions."
The Cultural functions of the present-day Government are transferred to the Cultural sector:
"The cultural portions of the other two spheres belong in this sphere and must be submitted to it"
Labor Unions are a kind of Economic association, and so participate in the Economic administration:
"A consequence of this one-sided confinement to politics are the attempts being made in various quarters to establish Workers' Councils. The current attempt to create such institutions must be consistent with the afore-mentioned “new idea,” [the Threefold Idea] if all labor expended on it is not to be wasted. This “new idea” requires, however, that Workers' Councils should be the first institutions with which the State has no concern, but which are free to form according to the purely Economic considerations of those engaged in Economic life. It should be left to the emerging corporation to promote associations that will create through Economic cooperation what has been brought about hitherto by the egotistical competition of individuals. It is a question of free social coordination between the various complexes of production and consumption, and not one of centralized control according to Political policies. The point is to promote the Economic initiatives of the workers through such an association, not to submit them to the tutelage of a bureaucratic hierarchy."
There is no income tax in a Threefold Societal Organism:
"Among all those who at the present day profess to be experts in practical life, there is not a single individual who doubts that an improvement has been made by the transition from all kinds of indirect taxation and other sources of national income to what we call the income tax, especially the graduated income tax. Everyone thinks it is unquestionably right to pay income tax and yet, however paradoxical this may sound to the modern mind, the belief that the imposition of a tax on income is a just measure is only an illusion resulting from the modern financial system of economy."
"Precisely by this example of taxation, we see how very necessary is a change in our method of thinking, and how the belief that a tax on income is first in importance is an accompaniment of that financial system which has appeared in modern civilization since the Renaissance and Reformation. When the economic system is once placed upon its own basis, the only matter to be considered is that capital actually involved in the production of commodities shall supply the means for the manufacture of the products necessary to the community. It will then be a case of a tax on expenditure, but never one on income."
The Social Future, II
Within the Economic sector, there will be special bodies which continually fix prices through transparent contracts (so that all prices are true and fair prices, ensuring that producer, distributor, and retailer all receive a fair livelihood, and that the price is also fair to the consumer):
"There will remain to be regulated by the economic system only the valuation of commodities and of the service which one person should receive from another in exchange for his own service. For this purpose certain persons will withdraw from the Associations composed of producers of various things, or of producers and consumers, and so on. These people will occupy themselves with the fixing of prices."
"Institutions must arise out of the social order which form a link between the value attached to the commodities by human needs, and the right prices. The prices are now fixed by the market in accordance with the known purchasing power of potential buyers. A truly social order must be guided by the fact that those who quite justifiably must have commodities must be able to pay for them, i.e. the prices must fit the value of the commodities and correspond to it. Instead of the present chaotic market, there must be an arrangement by which the tyrannizing over human needs and the interference with consumption is eradicated."
"So we see that human reason will take the place of chance, that as the result of the arrangements which will come into existence the price will express the agreements arrived at, the contracts entered into. Thus we shall see a revolution of the market accomplished by the substitution of reason for the chances of the market now prevailing."
"In such an economic life as this there will be a return to a condition which has now almost ceased to exist because of the financial system in which money itself has become an object of economic business, a condition in which economic life will be re-established on its natural and worthy foundation. It will not be possible in future to carry on business by means of money and for money; for economic institutions will have to deal with the respective values of the commodities. That is to say, society will again return to goodness of quality, excellence of workmanship and the capability of the worker."
The associative economy is a re-establishment of the natural, real economy before it became a speculative financial economy:
"In my book, The Threefold Commonwealth, the administration of capital was made, on the whole, dependent on the spiritual organization in cooperation with the independent political and legal organization. Whereas we now say that capital makes business, the impulse for the threefold order of the social organism requires that, although it should always be possible to accumulate capital, provision must be made for capital to be administered by some one who has developed out of the spiritual life the necessary capacity for business; and that this accumulation of capital may be administered by the person to whom it belongs only as long as he is able to administer it himself. When the capitalist can no longer put his own capacities into the administration of the capital, he must see—or if he should feel himself incapable of such a task, a corporation of the spiritual organization must assume the responsibility of seeing — that the management of the business shall pass to a highly capable successor, able to carry it on for the benefit of the community. That is to say: The transference of a business concern to any person or group of persons is not dependent on purchase or any other displacement of capital, but is determined by the capacity of individuals themselves; it is a matter of transfer from the capable to the capable, from those who can work in the service of the community to those who can also work in the best way far the common good. On this kind of transference the social safety of the future depends. It will not be an economic transference, as is now the case; this transference will result from the impulses of the human being, received from the independent spiritual-intellectual life and from the independent legal-political life. There will even be corporations within the cultural organization, united with all other departments of the cultural life, on which the administration of capital will devolve."
The right to use land, and the right to transfer stewardship of a business corporation and means of production (for example, factories and their equipment) is determined by legally designated, non-governmental, non-profit cultural organizations whose primary purpose is to administer capital (such as Community Land Trusts and independent councils of experienced industry managers). In other words, the transfer of Capital (land and means of production) is severed from the Economic sector.
"The disposal of land, systematized in the laws relating to its ownership, and the disposal of the finished means of production (for example, a factory with its machinery and equipment), should be no matter for the economic organization; they must belong partly to the spiritual and partly to the legal. That is to say, the transference of land from one person or group of persons to another must not be carried out by purchase or through inheritance, but by transference through the legal means, on the principles of the spiritual organization. The means of production through which something is manufactured — a process which lies at the basis of the creation of capital — can only be looked at from the viewpoint of its commodity-cost while it is being built up. Once it is ready for operation, the creator of it takes over the management because he understands it best. He has charge of it as long as he can personally use his capacities. But the finished means of production is no longer a commodity to be bought and sold; it can only be transferred by one person or group of persons to another person or group of persons by law, or rather, by spiritual decisions confirmed by law. Thus, what at present forms part of the economic life, such as the laws relating to the disposal of property, to the sale of land, and to the right of disposal of the means of production, will he placed on the basis of the independent legal organization working in conjunction with the independent spiritual organization."
"Such earnings, acquisitions and savings which result from the individual's own work will remain in his personal possession until his death, or in his descendants' possession until a later date."
Likewise, inherited capital will not be transmitted to the family lineage (or be confiscated by the State) but will be transferred for use by the most capable producer. The Political Governance will delineate the legal process for this, yet a cultural organization devoted to Capital Administration will make the actual decision of which individual or group is to be entrusted with the capital.
"After the death of the earner, or at a certain time thereafter, assets acquired through savings, along with the corresponding interest, also go to a spiritually or materially productive person or group — but only to such a person or group and not to an unproductive person in whose hands it would constitute a private pension — to be chosen by the earner and specified in his will."
"Justified personal or family interests will be brought into concordance with the requirements of the human community through such arrangements. It is of course possible to point out that there will be a strong temptation to pass on property to one or more descendants during the original owner's lifetime. Also, that although descendants could be made to look like producers, they would nevertheless be inefficient compared to others who should replace them. This temptation could be reduced to a minimum in an organization governed by the arrangements described above. The rights-state has only to require that under all circumstances property transferred from one family member to another must, upon the lapse of a certain period of time after the death of the former, devolve upon an establishment of the spiritual organization. Or evasion of the rule can be prevented in some other way through the law. The rights-state will only insure that the transfer takes place; a facility of the spiritual organization should determine who is to receive the inheritance. Through the fulfilment of these principles an awareness will develop of the necessity for offspring being made qualified for the social organism through education and training, and of the socially harmful results of transferring capital to unproductive persons. Someone who is really imbued with social understanding will have no interest in his relation to a capital base passing to a person or group whose individual abilities do not justify it."
The Economic executive is responsible for determining tariffs:
"The civil service administration for these economic issues, within whose domain also lies the full administration of tariff laws, is directly responsible only to the economic parliament."
All children have the Right to Education, with all children going to independent, non-governmental schools. All three administrations play a role in this:
"Children will have the right to education; the working head of a family will have a higher income than a single person. The ‘more’ will come to him through arrangements established by agreement of all three social organizations. The right to education could be arranged in that the economic organization's administration, in accordance with the general economic situation, calculates the amount of educational income possible, while the rights-state, in consultation with the spiritual organization, determines the rights of the individual in this respect."
"Just as children have the right to an education, the elderly, the infirm and widows have the right to a decent maintenance. The necessary capital must be provided for in the same way that it is for the education of those who are not yet productive. The essential point of all this is that the income of the non-earners Is not determined by the economic sector; on the contrary, the economic sector becomes dependent upon the results of rights-awareness."
The elderly, disabled, and widows have the Right to a Dignified Livelihood:
"Teachers, artists and such whose only direct connection with a legislature or an administration is with those which have their origin in spiritual life itself, will be able, through their actions, to inspire the development of a receptivity for their efforts and achievements amongst individuals who are protected by a self-reliant, independent political state from being forced to exist only for work, and which guarantees their right to a leisure that can awaken in them an appreciation of spiritual values. Those persons who imagine themselves to be ‘practical’ may object that people would pass their leisure time drinking and that illiteracy would result if the state occupied itself with the right to leisure and if school attendance were left to free human common sense. Let these ‘pessimists’ wait and see what will happen when the world is no longer under their influence all too often determined by a certain feeling which, whispering in their ear, softly reminds them of how they use their leisure time, what they needed to acquire a little ‘learning’."
One of the main responsibilities of the Political administration is the protection of the Right to Leisure for all Citizens (in other words, legislation ensuring that all workers have holidays, vacations, and that there is a maximum number of work hours per day and week):
"We can expect an improvement only when the control of working capacity is separated from economics—that is, when the state, based on democratic principles, determines the quantity and methods used to accomplish a task."
The Political Governance is completely responsible for the regulation and application of Labor and Working Conditions. The wielding of Human Labor is no longer controlled by the Economic corporations:
"Thus even before a worker enters the factory or workshop, the state has determined his or her work, and the state has heard the worker's voice in the matter through democratic principles."
Proletarian Demands and How to Put Them in Practice
"I have attempted to show in this book how hours and conditions of labour are matters to be dealt with by the political rights-state. All are equal in this area due to the fact that only matters are to be treated in it about which all men are equally competent to form an opinion."
Basic Issues of the Social Question, Preface
"The idea of the Threefold Order of the Social Organism is to detach labor completely from the economic process."
"The object of a democratic representation of the people can only be purely political, military, and police matters."
The Political Governance retains the police and military:
"Tax laws will provide this political state with what it needs to maintain itself. These will be devised through a harmonization of ‘rights awareness’ and economic requirements."
The Political Governance is funded through taxing the Economic sector; yet the amount will be devised through discussion between the Political leadership and the Economic leadership:
All the public schools are divested from the government, and together with the private schools, become participants in the Cultural sector:
"The movement for the threefold social order strives for the complete disassociation of the educational system from government and industry."
"Even the schools which directly serve the state and the economy should be administered by the educators: law schools, trade-schools, agriculture and industrial colleges, all should be administered by the representatives of a free spiritual life."
Even schools which train for economic or political fields (such as agricultural schools and law schools) are a part of the Cultural sector:
"The state establishes law-schools and requires that the law they teach be in accordance with the state's own view of jurisprudence. If these schools were established as free cultural institutions, they would derive the substance of their jurisprudence from this very culture. The state would then become the recipient of what this free spiritual life has to offer. It would be enriched by the living ideas which can only arise within such a spiritual environment."
Occupational training and retraining is part of the Cultural sector:
"Furthermore, practical economic training will reach full effectiveness through free cooperation with this [cultural] organism. People who have received the appropriate training will be able to vitalize their economic experience through the strength which will come to them from liberated spiritual values."
The Judicial branch (the court system) is transferred to the Cultural sector:
"One of the effects through which the triformation of the social organism will prove itself to be based on the essential nature of human society is the severance of judicial activities from state institutions. It will be incumbent on the latter to establish the rights between persons or groups of persons. Judicial decisions however, will depend upon facilities formed by the spiritual organization. This judicial decision making is, to a large extent, dependent on the judge's ability to perceive and understand the defendant's situation. Such perception and understanding will be present if the confidence which men feel towards the facilities of the spiritual organization is extended to include the courts. The spiritual organization might nominate judges from the various cultural professions. After a certain length of time they would return to their own professions. Within certain limits, every person would then be able to select the nominee, for a period of five or ten years, in whom he has sufficient confidence to accept his verdict in a civil or criminal case, should one arise. To make such a selection meaningful, there would have to be enough judges available in the vicinity of each person's place of residence. A plaintiff would always be obliged to direct himself to a competent judge in the respondent's vicinity."
"Appeal-courts will also be formed by this administration. An essential characteristic of such an arrangement is that a judge, because of his life outside his judgeship — which he can only hold for a limited period — can be familiar with the sensibilities and environment of the defendant. The healthy social organism will everywhere attract social understanding to its institutions, and judicial activities will be no exception."
The present-day timeliness of the Separation of the Judiciary from the Polity is visible in the Tim DeChristopher saga: "Are we a community without a conscience" by Think OutWord
Lawyers will become a Cultural profession in service of the Courts:
"Officials selected by the spiritual organization's administration will assist the judges and courts with technical points of law, but will themselves not hold decision-making authority."
Basic Issues of the Social Question, Chapter 3
Even though the Judicial Branch is transferred to the Cultural Sector, the Political Governance retains responsibility for assuring that the sentence of a convicted criminal is fulfilled:
"The execution of sentences is the responsibility of the rights-state."
Science is part of the Cultural sector:
"We shall now speak of these three regions of culture: art, science, and religion. For it is the mission of Anthroposophy or spiritual science to build up a new structure in these three regions of culture."
Religious organizations are part of the Cultural sector:
"They [the Liberals] were correct, although one-sided, in their demand that religion be a private affair. In a healthy social organism all spiritual life must be, in respect to the state and the economy, a ‘private affair’. But the social democrats' [Liberals'] motive in wanting to transfer religion to the private sector is not a desire to create a position within the social organism where a spiritual institution would develop in a more desirable, worthier manner than it can under state influence. They are of the opinion that the social organism should only cultivate with its own means its own necessities of life. And religious values do not belong to this category. A branch of spiritual life cannot flourish when it is unilaterally removed from the public sector in this way, if the other spiritual branches remain fettered. Modern humanity's religious life will only develop its soul-sustaining strength together with all the other liberated branches of spiritual life."
The territorial boundaries of the Cultural administration do not have to match the boundaries of the Economic administration:
"This can be done only if a region, governed by a common cultural life, marks its own boundaries that will be independent relative to the boundaries that arise from the given conditions of economic life. Now, of course, the question immediately presents itself: How is the cultural life to draw necessary support from the economic life if the administrative boundaries of their two spheres do not coincide? To find the answer, one need only reflect that a self-governing cultural life confronts the independent economic life as an economic corporation. As an economic corporation, it can enter into agreements for its economic support with the economic administrative bodies of its regions, regardless of any larger economic region to which these administrative regions may belong."
Language bodies (of those languages, such as French, which have regulatory Language Academies) are a part of the Cultural sector:
"A people's own language and everything related to it also constitute a spiritual area."
"National awareness itself belongs to this [spiritual-cultural] area."
National Identities, including civic nations (present-day "statal nations" such as the American People, the French People, and the Chinese People) and ethnic nations (present-day "stateless nations" or "ethnic minorities" such as the Lakota People, the Basque Nation, and the Tibetan People), are a part of the Cultural sector:
The National Identities will be embodied as Cultural Organizations, and so will be participants in the Cultural sector. The territorial conceptions of these National-Cultural Organizations do not have to match the borders of the Political states. Thus the National Homelands will be free to overlap with each other. The Nations will offer their own National School Systems and other cultural initiatives in other countries:
"Their thought-habits could not conceive of any other possibility but that the state borders must coincide with national communities. An understanding of the fact that spiritual organizations, including schools and other branches of spiritual life, could be established without regard to state borders was contrary to their thought-habits. Nevertheless, this ‘unthinkable’ arrangement constitutes the requirement of modern times for international relations. The practical thinker should not let himself be restrained by the seemingly impossible, and believe that arrangements which satisfy this requirement would meet with insurmountable difficulties; he should rather direct his efforts toward overcoming these difficulties."
The Separation of Nation and State, and the Separation of Nation and Economy will end wars:
"The people of one language region do not come into unnatural conflict [war] with the people of another if political organizations and economic power are not used to assert their cultures."
A single country can form itself into a Threefold Societal Organism even if every other country in the world remains a Nation-State:
"Should a social organism form itself according to the three natural sectors, the representatives of each sector could enter into international relations with others, even if these others have not yet adopted the same forms."
"That international relations will form no obstacle, even though initially only one state were to organize as a threefold system, will be discussed in the next essay."
"A Threefold Division of the Social Organism: A Necessity of the Age", Renewal of the Social Organism
Each of the three sectors has its own separate embassies, which independently engage with the economic, political, and cultural organizations of other countries:
"Each of the three sectors will have an independent relation to the corresponding sector of another social organism. Economic relations between countries will exist without being directly influenced by the relations between their respective rights-states. Conversely, the relations between rights-states will develop, within certain limits, completely independent of economic relations."
"The spiritual/cultural organizations of the various countries will be able to enter into mutual relations which derive exclusively from the common spiritual life of mankind. The self-sustaining spiritual sector, independent of the state, will develop conditions which are impossible to attain when recognition of spiritual activities is dependent on the rights-state instead of the spiritual organism's administration."
The Threefold Idea is for every country:
"The thoughts which underlie these goals are based on reality; they are to be pursued in all human communities."
International bodies, such as the UN, will also be Threefolded, with three independent administrations:
"Diversified relations are therewith established between peoples, states and economic bodies which ally all the parts of mankind so that each, in its own interest, is sensitive to the life of the others. A league of nations arises from impulses corresponding to reality."
"So that when we actually spiritualize that which otherwise finds expression as individualism in the imagination of one people, the single peoples will become simply the manifold expression of that which, to spiritual perception, is one. Then, over the whole earth, people will find it possible to tolerate the different national peculiarities, because there will be no need for an abstract uniformity everywhere; the concrete one, found through spiritual perception, will find means of expression in manifold ways. By this means the many will be able to understand each other in the spiritual unity. Then, from the many kinds of understanding of the unity, they will be able to frame articles for a League of Nations, and then, out of the spiritual conditions, out of the spiritual understanding, legal statutes can arise which will unite the nations. Then in the individual peoples that will appear which is possible to every people, namely, interest in the production and consumption carried on by other peoples. Then through the spiritual life, the legal and rights life of the peoples, one nation will really be able to develop an understanding of other nations and peoples over the whole earth."
"A task is still awaiting fulfilment: [...] the forming of humanity into a true and worthy social body over the whole earth. Michael's aim is to bring about that true knowledge and understanding of Christ which, living itself out in moral action, leads [...] the world in its totality to harmony."
Ita Wegman, On the Work of the Archangel Michaël
The Threefold Idea is something to be understood and then implemented, enacted by willing individuals:
"Today the public must bring to it what it could not have brought a short time ago: understanding men and women who want to work for what it advocates—if it is worth being understood and being put into practice. What should come about now is only possible through the activity of such people."
"The forces by means of which the various peoples grow must develop with a reciprocity which is not hampered by relations between political states and economic cooperatives. This will be achieved when the ethnic communities [nation-states] have implemented their social triformation to the extent that each of the sectors can cultivate independent relations with other social organisms."
"If we give a threefold structure to a community, it will not be necessary to discover formulae for the socialization of life, for this will take place of its own accord."
"What is wanted now, would be to set to work and actually propagate the Threefold Idea, as it is. Of course there are any number of things in the way of this; but they all reside entirely in the human will."
"Only the will of the individual who lives in a liberated spiritual/cultural life can create this [Threefold] empire."