The Humanization of Economic Life: The Legacy of Martin Buber

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In this article, I explore how our economic life can be reconciled with Martin Buber’s norm of dialogical life or communion. Known for his lifelong advocacy of dialogue between persons and between nations, Buber has tirelessly emphasized the necessity of restoring immediacy between fellow beings. Every human being is called to communion with his and her fellow beings. Such fellowship is the precondition for a truly human life. Given the technological and bureaucratic organization of our political and economic lives, this fundamental need is not being fulfilled. Instead of communion, it is the will to dominate and objectify that is fostered and normalized. The transcendence of this inhuman condition is what is entailed by the transition to the I-Thou relation. I here explain what it means to approach someone as a Thou, Buber’s reconceptualization of love, and the relationship between unified souls and a wholesome economy.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2018



  • communion
  • dialogue
  • love
  • objectification
  • responsibility
  • wholeness

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