"Man is, at one and the same time, a solitary being and a social being. ... As a social being, he seeks to gain the recognition and affection of his fellow human beings, to share in their pleasures, to comfort them in their sorrows, and to improve their conditions of life. ...
"I have now reached the point where I may indicate briefly what to me constitutes the essence of the crisis of our time. It concerns the relationship of the individual to society. ... Man can find meaning in life, short and perilous as it is, only through devoting himself to society.
"The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil. We see before us a huge community of producers the members of which are unceasingly striving to deprive each other of the fruits of their collective labor—not by force, but on the whole in faithful compliance with legally established rules."
Little has changed since 1949. The near collapse of Western market-based economies in the last year is evidence of that.
That leaves me to wonder how the libertarians, objectivists and "teabaggers" would respond to Einstein's carefully crafted defense of what he terms socialism, and his harsh critique of the predatory nature of capitalism.