About the Author

Peter Pappenheim

Born: 1926, in Amsterdam, spent his youth form ‘32 to ‘47 in Switzerland and then returned to his native country.

Education: primary in German, secondary in French, higher: after a year at the Technical University Delft, switched to and graduated in economics (general, business and quantitative) at the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

Obsession: The seamless transition from world-war two into the cold war impressed on me the abysmal gulf between our technical  proficiency (the atom bomb)  and our evident impotence to solve even the most simple-looking problems of inter-human  relationships, and led me to switch to social science and to inquiry into the relevant fields of philosophy.

Professional career:
- Five years as a full-time working student at the Central Bureau of Statistics, department of economic research.
- From 1959 until early retirement in1986 with Hunter Douglas Europe as manager of market research, forecasting, commercial planning and participating in the Europe-wide marketing plan discussions etc.

Political activity:
- Joined political party, D66, founded to improve the working of our political system, and served on the board of its Rotterdam district. See Netherlands.
- Five years a member of the committee on incomes policy of the Dutch SER (Social and Economic Counsel)


Books: “Vooruitgang zonder Blauwdruk”, 1977. (Progress without Blueprint). At the time of  my graduation, science offered only the same scientific tools that gave us our technical proficiency. They are end-state oriented, aim at optimalization, and fail to explain and solve the paradoxes of social decision-making in a democracy. The clues to the solution were provided by the discoveries of molecular biology, as vulgarized in Jacques Monod’s essay “Le Hazard et la Nécessité”. This book presents a first sketch of its application to social science and an alternative, evolutionary, model for development. A digitalized version will be published on this website, see Netherlands. It concluded with an exhortation to scientists to explore the consequences of such a model in various fields of philosophical and scientific inquiry, which was totally ignored. So I went at it on my own. The result:  “The Conceptual Foundations of Decision-making in a Democracy”, 2003. See International, WHAT IS DEMOCRACY?

Articles: All in Dutch, see Netherlands

Assorted comments on website