Social democracy nowadays has the same dilemma as any other range of ideas or movements. Rules of pragmatism are not enough any more in politics and to understanding the world around us the future should be seen, to which the knowledge of the past is indispensable. A clear and exact image of the society, of its status, and the process of its development is necessary, and it cannot be obtained without dealing with everyday pragmatic questions as well as theoretical ones. One of these essential questions seems to be the settlement of the basic values considering the past on behalf of the future. The basic values accepted by social democrats, Christian democrats, people on the left wing, and peolpe who have affinity to social thinking are in the focus of Iván Vitányi’s book.
The author is very much concerned with the problems of the present, he discusses the greatest social processes taking place in our days and having important effect on creating values: the changes of produce and work, the new forms of capitalism, the paradigms of the new era. Vitányi’s goal in his work is to give a general approach to his theme, but at the same time the current problems of East-Europe and those of Hungary are present throughout his essay.