Books: Search for Civitas

THE CULTURAL CONTRADICTIONS OF CAPITALISM

by DANIEL BELL

301 pages. Basic Books. $12.95.

The more that Sociologist Daniel Bell peers into the future, the more he seems to respect the past. It would be hard to find anyone more at home in such a variety of contemporary disciplines—economics, politics, the arts, popular culture. Yet Bell is not happy with the trends in any of them. Something precious has gone out of life, he feels. The deficiency makes people harsher, more inward, more aggrandizing. Bell yearns for a restoration of civitas: "The spontaneous willingness to...