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In Memoriam: Yorick Blumenfeld, Friend of Clare Hall

3 May 2024 Fellows

It is with great sorrow that we announce the death of Yorick Blumenfeld, friend of Clare Hall and husband of Fellow Commoner Helaine Blumenfeld, on April 8, 2024.

Born in Amsterdam in 1933, Blumenfeld grew up in France before moving to New York with his family in 1941. He was the son of renowned photographer Erwin Blumenfeld and often worked to bring his father’s art to wider audiences.

Educated at Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, Yorick attended Harvard University, where he majored in French, British, and Russian history and literature. His senior thesis, “Gogol and Russian Censorship,” argued that censorship fueled global creativity, a theme that would underpin his future works, including the influential book “See-Saw.”

In 1962, at the height of the Cold War, Blumenfeld traveled to the South Pacific and founded Philia, an international community near Nelson, New Zealand. Although the community did not last, his experiences there inspired his best-selling novel “Jenny, My Diary,” which topped the British best-seller list for eight weeks and was translated into 32 languages.

Blumenfeld’s later career was marked by a deep engagement with futurology, exploring potential futures of human society in his series “Prospects for Tomorrow.” His notable work “2099: A Eutopia” presented a vision of a techno-future shaped by cooperative and non-violent ideals, mediated by Mechanical Intelligence.

An advocate for a post-capitalist society, his book “Dollars Or Democracy” argued for a technology-driven, democratic alternative to capitalism, emphasizing cooperation and ecological sustainability.

Blumenfeld’s contributions to literature and thought were vast, with over 25 books and 2,000 articles to his name. He is survived by his wife, sculptor Helaine Blumenfeld, and sons Remy, a TV producer, and Jared, an environmentalist.

We offer our deep condolences to his family.