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ERVIN LASZLO-IVAN VITANYI: European Culture and World Development

Studies have been developed under the auspices and with the support of UNESCO were presented at the European Cultural Forum Budapest, October-November 1985.
To  summarize the rich and varied contents of the studies in the brief are: three broad categories: foundational studies which develop the meaning of the terms “culture” and “development” in the appropriate contemporary context and show the kind of role culture now plays in the process of development and can be expected to play in the future; elaborations on the theme of culture and development, discussing the interaction between the cultural dimen-sion of society and its socio-economic dimensions with all the complex questions calling for further penetrating research; and applications of the above developed concepts to concrete issues of cultural policy, joined by case studies of processes of national development in which the living culture of a people played a major and often crucial role.

The experience of the last decade has highlighted the crucial role of culture in societal development. There has been a growing disenchantment with purely economic objectives, since their pursuit has created increasing alienation among the peoples of the industrialized West and growing gaps and frustrations among the peoples of the developing South. Wealth cannot be measured in terms of money alone; financial assets may be necessary but they are by no means the sufficient condition of the development of society. For the latter wealth of quite another kind is needed as well: wealth of a rich cultural heritage, preserved, nurtured, and harmonized with the social and economic processes of a nation and an economy.
The preservation and enhancement of the depth and diversity of culture by the world’s peoples, and cooperation among them to achieve these ends, constitute a fundamental condition of human and social progress and of peace in the increasingly crowded, but also increasingly interacting and intercommunicating world of today.