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The Renewal of the Social Organism, GA# 24
Rudolf Steiner

Articles written in 1919, 1920
Foreword by Joseph Weizenbaum
Published by Anthroposophic Press in 1999
A Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2005


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This book is a compilation of articles Steiner wrote to newspapers. Four articles appeared in The Social Future and 20 articles in The Threefold Social Order. A lot of the material covers the same ground so the articles tend to repetitious, but still worth reading for the slightly different view each brings to the threefold order.

In his Foreword Weizenbaum explains how a complete separation between the domains of economics, laws, and culture is called for in Steiner's articles.

[page vii] They call for a proper separation of these three spheres of activity arguing that only this would allow each to express its essential nature and thereby enable human society to revitalize itself.

This revitalization will never effectively come about until we recognize that laws(1) are by their very nature coercive and that coercion has no proper place in a threefold society. The presence of coercive law creates a loophole through which multiple connections, regulations, and control may be established among the three folds of society. As soon as two folds are thus tied together, the otherwise stable stool of the threefold society becomes unstable(2). With all three tied together, as they are in the United States of America and most other countries today, the resulting society is actually a one-fold or unifold society which teeters precariously from one side to another, threatening the collapse which has been the ultimate end of every such unifold society in the history of the world. It will be the end of all current societies extant unless some means of true government replaces that provides by the rule of law.

In a society sans coercion, the threefold society will flourish naturally, on it own accord. Lacking the ability of one fold to regulate the other by means of force, each will perform its designed function without interference from the other. Economic interests will not be able to influence the promulgation of laws to their own benefit because there will be no laws to promulgate. The cultural sphere will be able to operate without regulation from the governmental sphere and the economics sphere because the economics sphere will not be able to influence the governmental sphere. The governmental sphere will perform a governing action of providing all the aspects of adjusting conditions to maintain a secure and safe environment for the operation of the other two spheres or folds, all without the possibility of interfering with those folds of culture and economics.

This may sound strange and un-achievable, but the technology to achieve it is available and would not require a single law to be passed. This might sound like anarchy to you, as it will to many who are accustomed to thinking of government as "naturally coercive." This is a result of our custom of misguidedly using the word "government" to refer to what can be easily discernible to be a "coercive bureaucracy." A simple demonstration will illustrate how the so-called government operates by coercion: stop paying your taxes and soon enough armed representatives of your so-called government will arrive with coercive intent. If you find it hard to imagine how a government might operate without coercion, you' re not alone. Steiner is quoted in the Foreword as saying:

[page xi] It is no great wonder that presently many people are still able to imagine nothing but a state of anarchy as a result of such a free form of human relations in the social order's spiritual-cultural branch. Those who think so simply do not know what powers of man's innermost nature are hindered from expanding when a man is forced to develop in the pattern into which the state and economic system mold him. Such powers, deep within human nature, cannot be developed by institutions, but only through what one being calls forth in perfect freedom from another being.

The only form a true government can take, rightly understood, is a completely volitional one. Within a volitional government all individual decisions are made volitionally out of the individual. Coercion, as such, would never come up as a subject for discussion. Such a volitional form of government existed for hundreds of years in England. Spencer Heath describes in detail the form of government and how prosperous it was in his eponymous book on the threefold society, Citadel, Market, and Altar. My treatment of that volitional government can be found in my review of Steiner's definitive book on the subject of the threefold society, Towards Social Renewal . Figure 2. is a diagram of how that society was constructed from Heath's book.

This basic free community existed until armed representatives of the Normans showed up with coercive intent in the wake of the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The Normans instituted top-down political rulership complete with taxation and coercion and completely undid the threefolding of feudal society in England which had thrived for five hundred year without laws, coercion, taxation, and war. To "imagine nothing but a state of anarchy" or to say such a volitional community is impossible because it "has never been done" is to fly in the face of verifiable historical facts.

No one is suggesting that we ought to go back to pre-Norman forms of government, certainly not I to do so would be folly. Instead I am pointing out that a government of the free, for the free, and by the free is possible a true government without coercion in which the three folds of society necessarily operate independently of each other.

I mentioned a technology which is available to achieve this goal. It was created by Andrew J. Galambos in his two courses in Volitional Science, V50 and V201. I attended V50T and V201T in the early 1980s which were the taped versions of the live courses he gave in California. As of 2005 the first course is available in Volume I of Sic Itur Ad Astra as a verbatim transcript complete with the diagrams which were shown as slides in the taped presentation. V201 is expected to be available in book form as Volume II of the series. In V50, Galambos gives the basic definitions upon which a volitional government can be built. He defines property in a way which includes a person's life, thoughts, and things and describes volitional means of protecting each one of these things. Consider the so-called government under you live, wherever in the world it might be: does it provide protection for human life? does it provide protection for derivatives of one's life such as thoughts, ideas, and the things we acquire as a result of our thoughts and ideas? In the USA we have a so-called government which provides partial protection for lives (abortion and capital punishment are but two prominent exception), which provides no protection whatsoever for thoughts and ideas, and which provides partial protection for the things we acquire (taxes and imminent domain are two examples). Since Galambos defines life as primordial property, thoughts and ideas as primary property, and things we acquire as secondary property, we may say that in USA we have partial protection for primordial and secondary property and no protection whatsoever for primary property(3).

Weizenbaum finished his Foreword with the statement, "Steiner was far ahead of his time." I agree, but Steiner was only about fifty years ahead of Galambos, not very far in time after all. The creation of a threefold society will commence when the ideas of these two men are rightly understood and integrated. I have seen little sign of those people I knew from Galambos courses studying Steiner's work and vice versa, up until now.

The very use of the word property seems to turn the stomach of those I know who have studied Steiner. The very notion that one's individual thoughts and ideas are property seem to make them apoplectic at times. "Ideas belong to everyone. There's only one set of universal ideas that anyone can retrieve." are examples of what I've heard over the years. I agree, there is one set of universal ideas, but when one swings into the realm of universal thought, one returns with an individual thought and idea which must be expressed cogently if anyone else is to benefit from it. This individual thought and idea belongs to the one who made the trip and returned with the idea. If two people made the same trip and returned with the same idea expressed slightly different, as did Leibniz and Newton with their individual versions of calculus, then it belongs to both of them.

The practical side of this comes when we get down to the worker on the factory floor who is paid a hourly salary. Let's take an example, and call him Sam. Sam is a wage earner who works for a large aerospace firm. He has worked for years building jigs and tools that he designed to help the manufacturing operation. One day he is told to make a run on a series of parts and went to storeroom to draw out the tool, only to find that it was a tool exactly like one he had built as one-of-kind for a different job years before. He did some research and discovered that the company had been manufacturing these tools he had designed. In addition, his company was producing those tools in bulk and selling them to other firms for a profit, while Sam was earning an hourly wage and knew nothing of the company's scheme to earn a profit on his ideas. Sam ended up quitting because the company wouldn't pay him for or even acknowledge the benefit he was producing for the company out of his thoughts and ideas. Sam was a union worker and used union-terminology to express his dissatisfaction: "I was paid to be a machinist, not a designer." This is a true story and its equivalent is enacted over and over again at all levels of work from factory floor to board room. The movie Working Girl depicts a white collar version of a failed attempt at such a theft of another's thoughts and ideas. But these are exactly the kind of infringements on primary property that Dr. Galambos's volitional science technology is designed to solve. Think of the vitalizing effect it would have on society if each individual's thoughts and ideas were valued in whatever job they found themselves. The technology to achieve that revitalization of society is available to all who wish to begin using it.

Steiner called the kind of pseudo-capitalism we have which allows such thefts of thoughts and ideas a "capitalistic prison". And even worse than such so-called capitalism is socialism.

[page 2] If it does not make possible the free unfolding of human individuality, socialism will not be able to liberate culture from its capitalistic prison, but rather it will bring death with no hope of revival.

Seventy years of the Russian experiment with socialism has proven Steiner correct. Just as our modern so-called capitalism (which is only pseudo-capitalism) suppressed Sam's human talent and creativity above, so also does socialism suppress human talent and creativity. True social impulses, rightly understood, arise and prosper best in a society in which one is rewarded for one's human talent and creativity. Steiner asks and answers this question of freeing culture from pseudo-capitalism as the socialist movement of his time demanded:

[page 2] How can these demands of the movement be accomplished without suppressing human talent or creativity, the free unfolding of which determines the extent and future of human development? In a social order founded upon a capitalist economy, democratization was something entirely different from what it must be in an order imbued with social interest.

In his works, Dr. Galambos makes clear the problems with our partial or pseudo-capitalism results in egregious harm to workers at all levels. Such a harm was done to his own career as a rocket scientist when his boss stole his design for a rocket engine. It was that theft which led to his leaving that company and creating on his own the technology which would thenceforth make it unlikely, improbable, and unprofitable for anyone to perform such a theft of a person's thoughts or ideas ever again. Did Galambos succeed with his technology? As one who has studied it thoroughly, the answer is a simple yes. To understand how he succeeded cannot be explained simply. It requires a detailed study of his two courses, which I recommend to skeptics who doubt this is possible.

With the background provided by the courses in Volitional Science, a new world of possibilities will open up. One begins suddenly to perceive the results of our modern social institutions which stifle the readily available human talent and creativity of the workers in them. Steiner saw those deleterious effects and urged the development of these talents rather than the stifling of them.

[page 3] Our innate powers of judgment and feeling, which should be developed through a healthy nurturing of cultural life, do not find their way into our modern social institutions. These institutions then smother the free development of the individual.

How are we to foster the free development of the individual? Steiner has ample advice on how we are to do it on a theoretical level.

[page 3, 4] [We must] permit human beings to bring into play that which governs relationships among all who have come of age. Every adult citizen must share equally in the regulatory process. Administration and representation must provide a climate in which a healthy consciousness of rights and responsibilities is allowed to unfold.

He avers that the democratic process will not allow for individual regulation for matters within the individual's domain and yet stresses the necessity of such individual regulation. Without access to Galambos's technology, Steiner envisions a"true democracy" from which he removes coercion by saying it must allow "self-regulation." Any democracy known to this day operates by coercion which makes Steiner's vision impracticable and thereby impossible. The goal he strives to show us to be worthy, however, can be achieved and Steiner's "true democracy" can be actualized by implementing Galambos's non-coercive volitional technology.

[page 4,5] Within the province of democracy and the administrative establishments growing out of it, no impulse directing the free flow of individual human talent can arise. Democracy has to declare it impotence to provide such an impulse if it wants to be a true democracy. If a true democracy is to be formed out of the state hat has existed heretofore, then one must remove from it and deliver to full self-regulation all those matters for which only the individual development of each particular person can manifest the right impulses.

In this next passage Steiner clearly lays out the dismal prospect for Russia's 70 years of experimenting with socialism.

[page 8, 9] If, in truth, they could see this dismal concept embodied within a social organism, it would be bitter disappointment actually to discover that a cultural life arising from a social reform based on economic principles alone would lead to even more dire and pitiful conditions than the present ones. The proletariat will have to struggle through to the insight that the present situation cannot be improved through a mere reorganization of the economy. . .

In this next vision Steiner sees the day when volitional science is harnessed by and for humankind, from the lowliest worker to the highest realm of achievement in all three spheres or folds of society which will necessarily be free of regulation from the other spheres for the first time in the history of humankind.

[page 9] The fact that today's working class has been harnessed into the economic system has led to the notion that only economic reconstruction can cure the ailment. The day that sets the working class free from this superstition; the day that allows people to become aware of their own instincts and to recognize that cultural and legal life cannot function as an ideology born from the economic environment; the day the proletariat perceives that the calamity of the modern age lies precisely in the fact that such an ideology has emerged; that will be the day that brings the dawn awaited by many.

The economy that Steiner describes below will necessarily be one in which the State literally does not exist but has corroded itself into disuse and replaced by the a true government which governs instead of ruling and coercion, a government that operates utilizing the technology of Galambos' volitional science.

[page 9] An economy in which the state does not participate will be able to proceed from independent economic experience on the one hand and the support of particular individuals and economic groups on the other. Economic experience cannot play itself out in the sphere where the rights due every adult should come to the fore, but rather only in the sphere of the self-governing economic body.

Following the principles of volitional science the distinction between blue collar and white collar worker will dissolve as all workers will contribute to the progress of an enterprise and will be rewarded directly for their contribution exactly as Steiner suggests. The prominent result will be the kind of socialization that he envisions, one of which results will be that "the capitalist system will lose its harmful tendencies." (Page 11)

[page 14] No one should cherish the illusion that any social institution could ever create an "ideal situation." What can be attained, however, is a viable, healthy social organism. Anything beyond that must be found through something other than social development. It is not the task of this articulation to guarantee "happiness," but rather to find the living conditions needed by a healthy social organism. Within it, however, men must be able to seek what they need to lead a dignified human existence. Nor does the healthy physical organism create from within itself that culture which the soul alone can unfold from its own depths; but a diseased organism prevents the soul from doing so. Thus a healthy social organism can only provide the prerequisites necessary for all that human beings must nurture and develop through their own capabilities and needs.
       Anyone who descries as utopian or as mere ideology what reveals itself to be a guideline for social development, and wants to leave everything to evolution, resembles a person who becomes indisposed because he sits in an unventilated room and refuses to open a window while waiting for the stale air to renew itself.

We are stuck in such a room now, rightly understood. Every day the stale air of the unventilated room of the world creates discomfort which leads to endless cycles of depression, boom, recession, etc. Unless and until the vents of fresh air provided by the windows opened by Steiner and Galambos are furthered enlarged by others who opens new windows in their own lives, the current depressive cycle of world affairs will continue. This is how change will come about: by each person opening a window and allowing the fresh air of freedom to flow in; by each person building freedom in their own life, one person at a time.

Rightly understood, freedom cannot be fought for. Fighting for freedom produces the opposite of freedom. The 200 plus years aftermath of the American fight for freedom from British offshore tyrannical rule has brought an onshore tyrannical rule of a coercive bureaucracy with taxation levels at times much higher than British colonists ever experienced on these shores. Fighting creates more of what you fight against. The good news is that freedom will create more freedom. As more people build freedom in their lives and show by their success that it works, others will follow suit, not because of the ideological ideas of Steiner and Galambos, not because of the boon of morality it brings into their lives, but simply because they become more prosperous, more happy, and more fulfilled human beings. They will have discovered for themselves in their own lives, as Galambos said, "the morality of profit and the profitability of morality."

Which country this will first occur within is uncertain, but given the concentration of over 25,000 graduates of Volitional Science in the USA(4), it seems likely it will occur here first. On the other hand I would be delighted if it were to occur in any other country first, because this country will immediately follow suit. One of the biggest detriments to the USA being first is what I call the "big lie" which is continually perpetrated that the USA is the "freest country in the world." In the country of the blind, someone extremely myopic and color-blind might yet be the best seeing person there, and no one would be the wiser. Only when the basic definitions of freedom and morality are understood is one able to begin building freedom one person at a time. At that time one will stop dancing with the forces of coercion.

Spencer Heath said, "Coercion acts in a social system as friction does in a physical system: you must do more work to overcome its presence." By "dance with the forces of coercion" I mean to spend more time and effort with them than they require of you by force give them what they demand of you by force and go back to your own business. Neither support them nor fight them. As more and more people stop dancing with those forces of coercion, they will begin to etiolate, dessicate and eventually collapse and die from lack of support and resistance. If you fight the forces of coercion, they become stronger. If you ignore them, you reveal their helplessness to create. Rightly understood, they are unable to foster freedom and to fill the soul-wants of the members of society and they will eventually die from universal recognition of their nature.

Every time you threaten to sue someone, to fight City Hall, write a letter to Congress, support a political candidate for office, cast a vote on election day, you are fostering and building up the decadent forces of coercion and you are doing so voluntarily of your own volition. One mistakes mightily if one attributes the low percentage of voter turnout in US elections to apathy this is another version of the "big lie." I predict that one of the last acts to be performed by the coercive bureaucracy of the USA will be to force people to go to the polling booths on election day.

Steiner leaves us no doubt that one country's conversion to a fully volitional threefold society will begin the domino fall of the rest of the countries of the world into freedom and threefoldness.

[page 65] There is no doubt that the economic conditions of any single country under the threefold social order cannot fail to act as a model for foreign countries. The circles concerned about a socially just distribution of wealth will strive to bring about the threefold system in their own country when they see how expediently it works for others. As the idea of the threefold commonwealth gains ground, the end that modern economic life strives for, through its own inherent tendencies, will be realized more and more. And although national interests unfavorable to these tendencies are still powerful in many parts of the world, the people in any field of economic life who have an understanding of the threefold social order need not for that reason be deterred from introducing it. The foregoing has shown that difficulties in international economic trade will not result from the threefold social order.

The more a person supports the deadening strictures of the State the less the person is able to exercise self-assertion. In the end such a person comes to see the State as essential for their own well-being and expects the State to save them from their own folly. Steiner recognized this aspect of the dynamic which serves to keep the State in power in spite of its coercive heavy-handedness. Children mature and leave the coercive strictures of the family home to assert themselves in the world. The time has come for people of all ages to do the same with respect to the coercive strictures of the State.

[page 77, 78] The exhaustion of the impulses that had kept together the nexus of the state was shown by the fact that in recent times many people have come almost as a matter of course to regard the state as an end in itself, and to forget that the state exists for the sake of human beings. To regard the state as an end in itself is possible only when one has so much lost the ability to assert one's inner, human individuality that one no longer expects from the state the kind of institutions this self-assertion would demand. Then one is indeed obliged to look for the essence of the state in all sorts of institutions that are quite contrary to its proper task. One will become determined to put more into the institutions of the state than is needed for the self-assertion of the human beings who compose it. However, every such more in the state evidences a less in the human beings who bear the burden of the state.

We should expect, if impulses to leave the State and its lessening influences are latently present in human beings and they are ignored or not understood, that we would be able to discern the effects in the world of those impulses. Let's look at the current events of the nascent millennium: everywhere we barbaric attacks on innocent people in offices, churches, school buildings, and even whole buildings destroyed by people whose actions can only be characterized as animalistic without a shred of human decency. Now read what Steiner wrote back 1920 about the dangerous situation he saw humankind rushing into. In 85 years we have arrived at the unmistakable signs of the result of the split in the human soul because of the dehumanizing effects of the over-dependence on the State.

[page 78, 79] The present age needs to see clearly that it has exhausted its economic, political and cultural impulses. Such insight must kindle energetic will and social purpose. Until people recognize that our economic, political and cultural troubles are not due merely to external life circumstances, but also to the state of our souls, the necessary renewal has not yet been given its proper foundation.

A split has come about in the constitution of the human soul. In the instinctive, unconscious impulses of human nature, something new is stirring. In conscious thought, the old ideas refuse to follow the instinctive stirrings. However, when the best instinctive promptings are not illuminated by corresponding thoughts, they became barbaric, animalistic. Modern humanity is rushing into a dangerous situation through this animalization of the instincts. Salvation can be found only in striving for new thoughts to meet a new world situation.

In this next passage I discern that Steiner is talking about a situation which exists in the United States today between two large groups of people who each want their partial solution to the problem to be implemented the Republicans and the Democrats. Each are fighting and agitating the "proletarian masses" what we might call the "working populace" today trying to talk them into voting for its party's solution. Ironically each party can only offer a partial solution because the solution they seek will only do the same old ineffective thing in a new and equally ineffective way but they will be out of office by the time that is realized and those who voted for them will shrug their shoulders and go to the polls for vote for another new and equally ineffective way of doing the same old ineffective thing.

[page 87] Within the mass of the working classes, there is a dull consciousness that demands a change in their form of life, which they see as a result of capitalist forces dominating the economy. Yet the manner of their participation in economic life hitherto has not made them aware of the way these forces operate. Thus they are unable to conceive any fruitful way of transforming these forces. The intellectual leaders and agitators of the proletarian masses are blinded by utopian ideas and theories which derive from a social science still based on the old economic concepts that so urgently need changing. These agitators have not even the faintest idea that their notions about politics, economics and cultural life are in no way different from the "bourgeois notions" they are fighting, and that at bottom all they are striving for is to see the old notions realized by a new group. However, nothing really new ever comes about when different people do the same old thing in a slightly different way.

Steiner elaborates on what the old ineffective thing is: allowing law and politics to control economics. Paul Watzlawick says in his book The Situation Is Hopeless, But Not Serious, "One predicament is choosing to operate on the world the way one thinks it should be instead of the way it is." Watzlawick says of such a person, "As captain of his ship, which the rats have already abandoned, he heroically steers into the stormy night." Another favorite category of ineffective ways of dealing with the world he calls, "Games with the Past", and he details one way he calls "More of the Same."

It brings to mind the famous Sufi story of Nasruddin and his lost key:

       Nasruddin, the Sufi joker sage, was crawling around the campfire in front of his desert tent when a friend walked up and asked him, "What are you looking for?"
       "My key", Nasruddin replied. At this his friend got on his knees and joined in the search. Soon another friend came by and there were three of them helping, then a fourth. Soon, a fifth friend came by and asked, "What are you looking for?"
       "My key"
       "Oh, where did you lose it?"
       "In my tent."
       "In your tent? Then why are all of you looking for it out here?"
       "Because the light is better here."

Rudolf Steiner is like the fifth friend who asks, "Why are you looking in the wrong place for what you have lost?" The whole situations sounds absurd, doesn't it? If you look in the wrong place, you will never find what you're looking for, right? Yes, just as continuing the game of "more of the same" by controlling the economy and the cultural life by politics and human made law is one of the most effective recipes for disaster that has gradually evolved on our planet. No country is exempt from using this ineffectual approach. Some people will tell you it is impossible to imagine any other way of managing economic life.

[page 88] One of these "old ideas" is the attempt to control economics by political and legal means. It is an "old idea" because it has brought a large part of humanity into an untenable position, as the catastrophe of the World War has shown. The new idea that must replace this old one is to liberate the administration of the economy from any kind of interference by political or national power, and to conduct the management of the economy along lines that are based entirely on economic principles and economic interests.
       But surely it is impossible to imagine a form of economic life that is not managed by businessmen using political and legal means! Such is the objection raised by those who believe the proponents of the threefold social order have no insight into what is socially self-evident. But actually those who make this objection refuse to see what a far-reaching transformation it would bring about in economic life if the political and legal views and institutions at work within the economy were not ruled from within the economic system itself according to its interests, but rather guided by something external to the economy, and subject only to considerations that lie within the competence of every adult.

Deluded by their obsessive enchantment with the past that some use to justify doing "more of the same" they miss the essential difference between the pre-industrial age and today's mechanized and automated industry. Steiner explains why a freely operating, sans coercion, threefold society is necessary today:

[page 108] The complicated form of modern industry, with its mechanization of human labor, requires a free, self- subsistent spiritual-cultural life as a necessary counterbalance. Earlier epochs in human history could bear the fusion of economic interests and cultural impulses because industry had no yet fallen prey to mechanization. If human nature is not to succumb to this mechanization, whenever human beings stand within the mechanized system of labor, their souls must always be able to rise freely into communion with the higher worlds into which they feel themselves transported by a free spiritual-cultural life.

Steiner lays out his case for the threefold order very clearly when he says that "within a threefold order of the social organism, human beings will find it possible to work together in such a way that out of this cooperation, they shall create what cannot be brought about by any programmatic theory." No programmatic theory means no programs dictated by some federal bureaucracy and applied coercively to the workers or the economic interests. In addition, no longer will creative workers like our friend, Sam the wage-earning factory worker, have his ideas stolen by his employer, but rather he will be duly compensated for every one of his jigs that are sold by his company. He will likely remain with his company instead of leaving it and instead of disparaging his company, he will praise it. That is what cooperation in the workforce looks like. Workers will find unity with the economic interests of their employers and be rewarded for their contributions to the company they work for. This kind of cooperation will lead to a culture in which the workforce can thrive inside of the most mechanized industry because the humans are not treated as glorified machines, but as soul-filled human beings from now on.


~~~~~~~~~~~~ footnotes ~~~~~~~~~~~~

Footnote 1. By "laws" here I mean specifically "human-made laws" not natural laws which are promulgated to describe the operations of the natural world we live within.

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Footnote 2. See Figure 1 in my review of Towards Social Renewal.

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Footnote 3. One might object that copyrights and patents protect thoughts and ideas, but the exact opposite is true. A copyright protects only the incarnation of an idea, not the idea itself. A patent protects the invention made from a design and not the idea itself plus the patent application requires full disclosure of the thoughts and ideas which went into the patent so that others may use those ideas to build devices in competition with the inventor. What was supposed to protect the inventor serves information to the stealer of the ideas and requires the inventor to pursue and bring to court the thief to recover damages which are not always forthcoming. The case of the Wright Bros. is illuminating on this point. They won the case against the thieves and lost the capability to manufacture their aeroplanes during their long and expensive court battle. For this reason, there was never a Wright Bros. Aircraft Company.

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Footnote 4. This is my own best estimate. The number may well be larger.

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