The worldwide decline of socialism has been more total and pervasive than that of liberalism. A dominant system of politics and economics has been abandoned - because it has failed. What are the repercussions of this decline, on the first world and developing countries? Can we imagine or predict another, equivalent ideological force for the future?
This is the 1989 Special Lecture.
Ralf Dahrendorf studied at Hamburg University between 1947 and 1952, becoming a doctor of philosophy and classics in 1952. He continued his academic research at London School of Economics under Karl Popper as a Leverhulme Research Scholar in 1953–54, gaining a PhD degree in sociology in 1956. He was a professor of sociology in Hamburg (1957–60), Tübingen (1960–64) and Konstanz (1966–69).
From 1968 to 1969, he was a member of the Parliament of Baden-Württemberg, and from 1969 to 1970 he was a member of the German parliament for the Freie Demokratische Partei (Free Democratic Party). From 1969–1970 he was also a Parliamentary Secretary of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 1970 he became a Commissioner in the European Commission in Brussels.
From 1974 to 1984 he was Director of the London School of Economics. He was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1982 and adopted British citizenship in 1988. In 1993, he was granted a life peerage and named Baron Dahrendorf of Clare Market in the City of Westminster.