West Germany: Some Soul Massage For die Formierte Gesellschaft

Progress is a comfortable disease, E. E. Cummings once wrote. Even so, Americans and West Germans have al ways suffered, while enjoying progressively greater comforts, from the conviction that they should utilize their material prosperity for higher ends. To meet the demand, Lyndon Johnson prescribed the Great Society. Last week Ludwig Erhard called for the Teutonic equivalent: die formierte Gesellschaft —literally, the formed, well-ordered or harmonious society.

Erhard has used the phrase before. For weeks before the September election, he lectured campaign audiences on it, giving cabaret performers a field day for jokes about the "chloroformed" and "uniformed" society. Others...

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