The REDSTAR2000 Papers

Listen to the worm of doubt, for it speaks truth.








RevolutionaryLeft.com - Leftist Discussion
Theory

"Free Market Socialism" January 10, 2005 by RedStar2000


I know, even the phrase sounds quite bizarre. That portion of the left which often calls itself "democratic socialist" has seemingly drifted into a position of embracing the "free market" as a device which can make socialism both "workable" and "credible".

I don't understand it myself; to me it sounds quite incredible.


============================================

quote:

...welcome back to the dark ages of economics, folks.

"Value" is one of those things we should leave behind along with god and the dialectic.


Very well, then, with what do we replace it?

That is, how is it possible (even in principle) to calculate the exploitation of labor (or even to explain it) without a "theory of value"?

You can't seriously be suggesting that we "fall back" on "supply and demand", can you?

I'm as dissatisfied with the "labor theory of value" as anyone...but I can't see the absurdities of "supply and demand" as anything even remotely approaching an acceptable alternative.

Especially when we know that the "free market" with "unregulated competition" is as fictional as Santa Claus.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
First posted at Revolutionary Left on December 28, 2004
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

quote:

...the modern conception has value as a solely socially constructed aspect of an object that is determined by market forces and psychology.


I see..."supply and demand" with "psychology" as a "cover" for every time "supply and demand" doesn't work?

And you really wish to maintain that Marx's theory is "magical"?

It looks to me like you're stumbling around in the dark with the rest of us...

quote:

Can't we just agree that value is an incredibly complicated mess involving tons of variables and we can never fully understand every aspect that goes into it?


Well, we could agree on that for the moment...but would it not be preferable to really understand what's going on?

Perhaps the smallest details are too complicated to be grasped by the human mind...but surely a general understanding is possible.

quote:

I think that calculating exploitation is a misguided endeavor from the beginning. Exploitation is readily apparent in human terms--and these terms are ultimately more meaningful for individuals.


Yes, I should have chosen a better word than "calculating" (which probably is impossible). But we -- or at least some of us -- would like to be able to explain how and why exploitation takes place. Just observing that it "exists" -- and we don't know why -- is unsatisfying.

If exploitation can't be directly connected to the way capitalism actually functions, then who's to say that exploitation is not "inherent" in "all possible forms of production"?

That it's not "human nature" to exploit/be exploited?

quote:

I'm curious as to your problem with supply and demand...


That it's totally fictional. The best thing I've read on it is Steve Keen's Economics: the Naked Emperor of the Social Sciences. He "slices & dices" bourgeois economics with genuine relish.

Also, there's these folks...

http://www.revolutionaryleft.com/index.php?showtopic=29005

I'm in sympathy with those who are presently skeptical of the classical "labor theory of value".

But I'm still awaiting a credible alternative.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
First posted at Revolutionary Left on December 28, 2004
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

quote:

You assume a complete lack of scarcity in a communist society...the reason we speak in economic terms in the first place is because it is the study of scarcity. Scarcity always exists as the planet is a finite resource!


quote:

You, on one hand, deny the problem of scarcity and propose we create an economic system without proper incentive structures while I propose a system that deals effectively with scarcity and can be shown as far as can be expected to be viable and sustainable and at the same time doesn't require taking anything on faith.


quote:

This sort of thinking assumes that there will always be a superabundance of everything...without a mechanism sensitive to supply and demand it is difficult (probably impossible) to determine how much of what should be produced where and when.


quote:

Money, in a socialist society, is simply (1) a way of dealing with scarcity (2) a way of encouraging efficiency (say what you like about efficiency, waste kills the planet). Why should the cooperative have to pay for electricity? To ensure that they use as little electricity as possible, that's why! The amount of electricity produced--especially in an environmentally friendly society--is always finite.


I suppose, in a way, you're right. Marxists do assume a finite but very large amount of resources will be available..."super-abundance" might be one good term for it.

I think this is a reasonable assumption because of the enormous waste associated with class society -- swollen state and corporate bureaucracies, military and luxury production, etc.

I see, in fact, no reason for the production of diamonds (or much else) at all.

Getting rid of the crap ought to yield sufficient surpluses to make "to each according to his need" a practical possibility (in a technologically advanced country, of course).

Shortages may exist from time to time for particularly desirable items...in which case, people who want those items will simply have to join their efforts to produce them or accept rationing of those items. Labor will have a tendency to flow towards producing what people are unwilling to do without...without regard to the absence of money.

Likewise, labor would tend to flow away from producing that which is in vast over-supply...people would see further efforts as pointless.

Perhaps this voluntary shifting of labor back and forth would be less efficient than market/price mechanisms...I really don't know.

But any proposed alternative to communism -- where all labor must be voluntary -- must retain that crucial characteristic or is otherwise not worth fighting for...or even arguing for.

If wage-slavery is not to be abolished...then what's the point?
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
First posted at Revlutionary Left on December 29, 2004
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

quote:

If goods are produced according to demand that means there is less overproduction and hence less work overall.


But you yourself have spent many words in this thread on the impossibly subjective definition of "demand"...and I don't think you even mentioned the physical difficulty of actually obtaining the "demanded" commodity as one of the elements.

A market mechanism doesn't measure "demand" either...except in terms of "whoever has the most money can probably get whatever they want".

Perhaps a quantum computer (if a working model is ever built) will be able to determine "demand" in an objective and accurate way.

Until that or something like that happens, we will always over-produce one thing and under-produce something else.

quote:

This waste is currently killing our planet...wanton overproduction in a socialist society would continue to kill the planet!


Why? That is, why do you assume that a revolutionary society would over-produce environmentally destructive commodities?

Perhaps it would...what do you think we should "stop making"? Or make a lot less of?

quote:

I'm still assuming global exchange of goods and services.


Indeed...and again I ask why? However "efficient" (profitable) it has been for the capitalist class, it does not seem to have done a great deal to improve people's lives in either the exporting or the importing countries.

The anti-globalization movement did not originate because some people are just bad-tempered, chronic complainers.

I rather think "world trade" will be, for the most part, in the realm of techniques -- how to make something if you want to where you live. People will not move raw materials around the world unless there is no existing substitute yet.

And I think people will look very hard for those substitutes.

quote:

Your observation only stands up in a small communal model in which producers and consumers are not only the same class but the exact same individuals!


Well, shouldn't that be the case...at least roughly?

Shouldn't a communal polis be able to produce most of what it needs? Shouldn't food, clothing, shelter, transportation, even entertainment, etc. be taken care of mostly on a local level?

Sure, some "high-tech" stuff might be imported...as well as raw materials unavailable in your area, perhaps specialty food items, etc.

Who knows, perhaps beef will become a "rare treat"...but you can raise pigs and poultry everywhere. And perhaps even raise a breed of "miniature cattle" locally.

quote:

It will take plenty of work to create the material conditions in which a pure, communist society can be workable...this must take place in a reasoned shift of wealth from global north to global south and from region to region as well as a radical change in the way we think about the world and our relationship to it and to one another.


This seems very fuzzy to me...and will require an enormous bureaucracy to develop the "reasons" at least.

In my opinion, the transfer will be very abrupt -- on the "day after the revolution", we -- in an advanced capitalist country -- voluntarily renounce all titles and rights to all wealth located in other countries, period. Likewise, we cancel all debts "owed" to "us" by countries in the third world.

What they decide to do with that oil field or that automated factory is henceforth up to them.

quote:

In fact, I don't have faith in the possibility of such a scheme at all--utopian experiments have a way of falling apart at best and killing lots of people at worst. I also don't expect people to sign onto something they can't be completely sure of.


You would seem to be implying here that the USSR, China and possibly Cambodia were "utopian experiments" gone sour.

But with the exception of Cambodia, it seems to me that the USSR and China in practice did mostly what you want to do.

That is, aside from brief "utopian eruptions", they proceeded in a very "reasonable" way to maximize both development and profitability. And while they certainly had their failures, they also had their successes.

Indeed, I would expect you to look with considerable favor on China today...its economy under a limited market mechanism is "booming" and, for the lucky winners at least, their standards are approaching that of the U.S. circa 1925.

quote:

As to an imperfect but workable model of socialism being "not worth fighting for...or even arguing for"--this statement is simply absurd and you know it!


No, I do not "know it's absurd"...I meant every word of it.

quote:

Tell that to the billions of people who are being murdered, in one way or another, by the current system. Tell that to the alienated, dehumanized workers from every corner of the globe. Tell that to the youth who are tormented by their desire for freedom--who want a real solution, not a perfect ideal.


I do tell them...insofar as the internet makes that possible.

Because your "imperfect but workable" model of socialism will inevitably re-create exactly what we have now.

It may unfortunately be the case that in the course of the twists and turns of history, people may have to "go through" several versions of the USSR/China before they learn that it doesn't really "work" after all. Or, to be more precise, doesn't work except to the degree that it resembles what we have now.

I wonder if what you really find "distasteful" about Marx is not so much an esoteric dispute over the nature (or even existence) of "value", but a much more fundamental dispute -- namely, whether it is possible/desirable to break with all the assumptions of class society.

quote:

What about a 4-hour day and industrial democracy isn't worth fighting for? What about production based on human need isn't worth fighting for? What about global guaranteed employment, housing, and healthcare isn't worth fighting for?


Those would all be nice things to have, no doubt.

But without the abolition of wage slavery, they are only so many velcro chains and shaded auction blocks.

You see the struggle as one for improvement in the conditions of the working class; I see it as one for emancipation of the working class.

quote:

So, with all due respect (seriously), don't be an arrogant ass and trivialize the hope for a just world today--a hope that goes beyond a just ideal alone.


"Arrogant ass" I may be -- I've been called worse -- but I will say what I think is true even if the whole world disagrees.

quote:

...it is necessary that a real, demonstrably workable alternative exist or people will dismiss your ideas as a utopian exercise in futility.


A commonly expressed view; that is, unless we have a "workable vision", people will "ignore us".

I disagree. I think that unless we have a "vision of emancipation" -- however "utopian" it may sound now -- people will assume that we're all just another bunch of hustlers after power and wealth...like all the rest of the bastards.

We'll see who's right.

quote:

You can call me counter-revolutionary or whatever till you are blue in the face...I don't really care about the intricacies of marxist vocabulary--I'm more concerned with justice.


The "intricacies of Marxist vocabulary" are not required; I just think you're wrong.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
First posted at Revolutionary Left on December 30, 2004
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

quote:

Markets are actually quite good at providing an abundance of high quality, low cost goods, in this respect far outstripping a command system.


The "command systems" that we have empirical data on were not devoted to producing "high quality, low cost goods".

If you want to make a comparison, you should compare Russia and China to 19th century market economies...which was better at building railroads and factories?

I see no reason "in principle" that a "command economy" in the "west" would not work at producing "high quality, low cost goods" just as well as what we have now.

I'm not in favor of "command economies" in the sense that concept is currently used, but if we are to compare, let's compare apples with apples.

quote:

Capitalism has proved to be the most dynamic system in history for creating consumer goods...


Thus far...

quote:

Perhaps, but in regard to direct consumer demand an equation would require vast amounts of human variables to be constantly entered.


That's what "card-swipe" technology does...and we have it now.

The "variables" would be updated constantly, in real time, and so would the estimated demand equations.

In fact, we don't really need a quantum computer (though it would be useful to have one), much less the absurd individual estimates that Parecon demands. What we need is a data base...two or three decades of detailed records -- from that, it should be possible to predict demand within a narrow range of uncertainties.

quote:

The argument is that a non-capitalist market would be better at gauging demand than a command system...and perhaps better than anything else out there at this point in human history.


You could be right...I see no way of telling at this point. The problem I see is that your "market" generates other difficulties.

quote:

The issue is reducing the environmental footprint in general. The productive process, by its very nature creates an environmental footprint. Inefficient productive practices make an environmental footprint that is larger than necessary (use more water than would be used otherwise).


No doubt...but is that to be our goal? Should we make decisions about production solely or primarily on the basis of the projected size of the "environmental footprint"?

If we did do that, would it not imply a retreat to a pre-industrial mode of production?

The restoration of feudalism???

quote:

Actually, "Americans"--even "poor" residents of the United States--benefit richly from the exploitation of the third world.


I disagree with this view, fashionable though it is in some circles.

I would argue that it is the capitalist class that primarily benefits from the exploitation of the "third world" by the "west" -- that for the vast majority of people, the "benefits" are, at best, mixed.

quote:

No, it arose because some people opposed the trend of corporate globalization which has little to do with trade and lots to do with imperialism, etc.


Well, it's corporations that are "doing it" and what they're doing is "expanding world trade".

You seem to be suggesting that a vast exchange of goods and services on a global scale would be "ok" with people provided corporations were not the active agents.

But it seems to me that if somebody's "good job" is moved to Bangladesh by your "socialist market" in the name of "economic efficiency", they're still going to be pretty pissed off.

quote:

What about raw materials? What about advanced medical equipment?


What about them? I didn't say that there would be no movement of goods or raw materials around the world...I said that the communist bias would be against that. It wouldn't be done unless it were really necessary.

And, no doubt, this would be very inefficient...especially in the early years when things were being set up.

Later on, we'd probably take it for granted that you don't waste energy moving stuff half-way around the world when it's perfectly practical to make it at home.

quote:

Of course the workers in the mines and factories producing important things every decent society needs (and would want) would resent working more to produce things for people they didn't know who offered nothing in return, wouldn't they?


Your capitalist mind-set is showing.

You are assuming that everyone carries a little "bookkeeper module" around in their brains that is constantly calculating whether one is being "exploited" or is the "exploiter" in every social transaction or relationship.

Capitalists do have such a module...it is "second-nature" to them to look at everything in those terms.

Most people are not capitalists.

As to specifics, perhaps the way that raw material extraction could be carried out would involve a co-operative effort by a number of entities who would "split the product" according to how much labor each entity contributed.

As I suggested elsewhere, the communal polis would manufacture most of its consumer needs itself.

quote:

And I think people will do the natural thing and organize a method of mutual exchange that benefits everyone involved.


"The natural thing"? Is "trade in our genes"?

quote:

Yes and no...simply put, it isn't as simple as you make it out to be.


A truism...the territory is always more complicated than the map.

But saying that something is "easier said than done" is not an "insurmountable obstacle".

quote:

...or we just trust to people's good will...


It's not a matter of "good will" in the abstract. It represents a conscious decision on the part of the masses on how they want their society to work.

quote:

How exactly does this alleviate problems of regional inequality and capital concentration?


It lifts the burden of foreign exploitation from them and gives them something to "work with" in developing themselves.

What more is practical?

quote:

After all, once all firms are turned over to their workers to be managed on a democratic basis, how can overseas capital be justified?


Well, you still have a market economy, right? So that means it is in everyone's self-interest to accumulate as much money as they can, right? So why wouldn't a "worker-run" firm in the "west" continue to exploit the "third world" in some fashion if they could get away with it?

Good will?

quote:

And here we arrive at the sticky situation of "them"-ness.


No we don't. We "walk away" from that factory in the "third world". Whatever happens to it after that is up to the people who live there. Probably some local capitalist will take it over...or perhaps some local government agency over there. Or perhaps they'll see no need for it and just abandon it to the jungle.

We may place a "bridging order" with that factory if they decide to keep running it -- until we have our own factories to make that stuff for our own use. We can pay them in gold, since we won't be using currency ourselves.

quote:

Economic Democracy and economic tyranny that happens to use the market mechanism are far removed.


I didn't mean to suggest that you were a "believer" in the Chinese system.

But it does seem to me that the "market mechanism" itself is a kind of tyranny.

quote:

You throw this accusation around a good deal...so much that it has seemingly taken on the character of your "ace in the hole." Interestingly enough, rational observation of human and economic realities seem to indicate that it is your envisioned post-capitalist mode of organization and production that would be most subject to tyranny.


It may well be my "ace in the hole"...but that's not a refutation of my argument. A "free market" generates a certain kind of consciousness that one must acquire or otherwise perish in deprivation.

Accumulate! Accumulate! Thus sayeth the Law and the Prophets! All else is commentary.

Your suggestion that the attempt to achieve communism as rapidly as possible might "end in tyranny" is unsupported by argument.

But even if that risk is present, I prefer to run it.

I know where the other path leads...to the restoration of capitalism.

quote:

In its very essence, this gets at a utopian concept that ultimately reeks of exploitation and the potential to produce it. I see no ethical reason why one who does not contribute to the production of society in whatever way one is capable has any right to the fruits of another's labor.


Gee, will you have homeless shelters in "market socialism"?

Because you'll certainly have homeless people.

Just like now.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
First posted at Revolutionary Left on January 5, 2005
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

quote:

Such a setup has no place for innovation and no incentive for improving the quality and reducing the cost of production.


I don't see why you would think that. Humans spontaneously innovate...especially when looking for a way of reducing boring repetitive labor.

Improving the quality of a good would probably be a consequence of noisy complaints by the citizenry.

Reducing the "cost" of production (less labor, less raw materials, or both) might or might not be seen as desirable.

quote:

Also, such equations require the repeated entrance of millions of variables...one error throws the thing off.


I don't think that's how it works; when you have millions of entries, one error disappears into the noise of uncertainty. You need a really large number of errors before it starts to "show".

quote:

Sustainability requires constant vigilance and attention to efficient use of resources within the industrial mode of production, not regression to feudalism.


Ok, calm down, I was just trying to understand your meaning, that's all.

quote:

Such an event would require that the workers making up the firm in question actually vote to move their own jobs overseas.


Well, that's one way it could happen. But since you envision a continuation and even expansion of global commerce under "market socialism", why couldn't a worker-run factory in China flood the American market with some low-price version of what the American co-op produces...driving the American co-op "out of business"?

quote:

First, I think you fail to understand the complexity of the modern productive process.


I'm sure I do. I'm not an economist and claim no expertise in that field.

I'm "winging it" here.

quote:

Second, what about moving stuff halfway across the continent?


Perhaps I should have spelled out the general principle: the closer you can import from, the better. Best of all is to be able to make it yourself.

quote:

No, I'm assuming that nobody likes a freeloader, especially when it is evident that such an arrangement results in some doing more work in order to subsidize the health, wellbeing, and leisure of those who do less (or nothing).


We could support an awful lot of "freeloaders" at a basic standard-of-living on what it takes to support the capitalist class.

And freeloaders "do no harm", of course.

If your own work is intrinsically rewarding, why should you care if some hapless bastard spends his whole life playing video games?

Still "keeping score"?

quote:

What it really comes down to is whether or not such an arrangement is workable and, if so, whether or not it is desirable. I tend to answer with a "probably not" on the first question and a "definitely not" on the second question.


If it turns out not to be "workable", then we're just wasting bandwidth yapping about it.

But I think it is very much "desirable"...especially considering the alternative -- sending all the really shitty jobs off someplace far away and keeping all the good jobs to ourselves.

If we pretty much have to make most of the stuff we use ourselves, we'll have a much clearer idea as to if "it's really worth it" and "do we really need it".

quote:

As to your suggestion that everyone would participate in raw material extraction, do you think they would send some poor sap to the mines in exchange for their cut of the product or do you simply think they would "log on" at their leisure since the concept of stationary capital doesn't exist in your world?


I don't think I even understand that question.

No one would be "sent" to the mines; people would volunteer for that work. The period of work would be very short...perhaps as little as a month (and the work-shift at the mines would be very short as well). After their return, the polis would throw a big party for them, hand out medals, and they would have maximum status until the next group of volunteers returned. If there happened to be any desirable good that was in short supply at the time of their return, their names would go to the top of the ration list.

quote:

This is a terribly vague statement. It also assumes a great deal of commonality among the way people see the world.


Agreed. Communist society does make such an assumption.

It assumes that people have a basic understanding of communist ideas of how a civilized society should be organized, are in general agreement with those ideas, and "want" to make them "work".

I'm sure that many of the details will be heavily disputed...especially in the early years.

And then we'll see.

quote:

What sort of organization do you foresee to alleviate regional, national, and global inequalities inherited from the capitalist past? Or does it all work out on its own?


Mostly it "works out" on its own.

I don't see any other way to do it unless you wish to send a "Red Army" all over the world to impose an advanced social system on people who are far from ready for such a thing.

Inequalities within and among regions are largely being eradicated by capitalism now...they may still exist 50 or 100 years from now but I expect the differences will be marginal.

quote:

It really isn't in anyone's self-interest to accumulate as the ability to create wealth with wealth will have been eliminated.


Yes, but in any market economy, the more money you have, the better you live. So it's very much in your direct self-interest to maximize your income by any means you can.

Worker-run factory in North America has a subsidiary in Honduras (inherited from the old regime). If they are not compelled to turn it loose, then they can continue to profit from the lower wages paid in Honduras.

quote:

It is important to note, however, that cooperative firms expand only to the point at which profit per worker is maximized.


That's a fairly arcane point to determine, I would imagine.

quote:

All they can do is buy from and sell to foreign firms but they can only buy at prices adjusted by tariffs to make up for poor labor and environmental standards--the proceeds from which are then rebated to the poor nation and earmarked for the development of such standards.


Neat. Of course, "poor nations" are usually run by corrupt oligarchies...so the rebates would just go into their pockets.

Unless you've mobilized the "Red Army" again.

quote:

But ultimately your question is best answered with another question: what stops one "polis" from exploiting another "polis" if they can get away with it?


Well, a polis is not the same as a poor third-world country...it's full of communists who might be expected to be less than tolerant of exploitation by another polis.

There would be a fuss.

And maybe even a small war.

quote:

...how are local, regional, and supra-regional interests articulated in a stateless society?


I suppose we'd have a motley collection of assorted "talk shops" that would have long meetings and, occasionally, reach a tentative agreement on "doing something" about some pressing problem.

But the communal polis is "sovereign" insofar as that concept still retains meaning. It would participate or partially participate or not participate at all according to the will of its own citizenry.

Really sensible ideas would, over time, prevail in such an environment. More dubious propositions would have difficulties.

quote:

What stops the workers in a firm producing a necessary commodity from extorting other communities?


The ability of other communities to make it themselves. Or to make an acceptable substitute.

quote:

Who gets to control the means of production--the workers, the community, the locality, the region, or a trans-regional organizational body?


In an "immediate" sense, the workers. In an "ultimate" sense, the locality.

quote:

Basically, who do you mean when you say "them" in this statement -- "What they decide to do with that oil field or that automated factory is henceforth up to them"?


Whoever happens to be "in charge" in that "third world" country.

Of course, should it happen to be placed in the hands of the workers there, we might offer a little "extra help" in the transition to "native custody".

But what I'm really getting at is that we who establish communism in the "first world" will no longer be "in the business" of "guiding" or "commanding" third world countries, politically or economically.

Imperialism is over, period.

quote:

Abolishing the state does not necessarily make a society any more just or egalitarian. Basically it is the opposition between the Marxist idea that new societies arise from the shell of the old and the nihilistic or "crude communist" idea that new societies arise from the ashes of the old.


I'm afraid that's too "poetic" a distinction for me to grasp.

The "shell" of the old capitalist economy will be all around us, as will the "ashes" of the old capitalist state machinery.

The Leninists argue that we should take the shell "as is" (wage-slavery, money, production for profit) and build a new state apparatus to "run it".

You don't seem to differ much except for two amendments: (1) that workers in each firm should collectively become the "CEO's" of those firms (instead of a new state running the whole thing) and (2) the market mechanism must be retained "in full" (or nearly so) -- no centralized planning except where unavoidable.

But, if I understand you correctly, you'd still set up a new state to do "government stuff" -- an army, cops, laws, judges, lawyers, prisons, regulations, etc., etc., etc.

quote:

Yeah? How and why?


I told you. Here it is again.

quote (redstar2000):

It may well be my "ace in the hole"...but that's not a refutation of my argument. A "free market" generates a certain kind of consciousness that one must acquire or otherwise perish in deprivation.

Accumulate! Accumulate! Thus sayeth the Law and the Prophets! All else is commentary.


In a "free market", it pays to cheat (unless you get caught). And it pays to invest the proceeds of your successful cheating...legally if possible, illegally if necessary.

Over time, the successful cheaters will pay the necessary bribes to have the law changed in their favor.

Welcome back to capitalist society.

quote:

It is a basic socialist ideal that there will be neither homelessness nor unemployment in a socialist society--even if that means the state has to be the employer of last resort and housing is publicly controlled or at least heavily regulated.


So, like the USSR, you will have old women sweeping the streets and sleeping at desks at the end of each hotel corridor.

Because you have to find or make a "job" for everyone...no freeloading allowed!

And likewise for housing...what the market won't supply, the state apparatus will. But it will be shit, just like now...because the "unproductive" don't "deserve" any better.

quote:

Just because a socialist society uses the market mechanism to deal with the problem of production doesn't mean that it will somehow inherit the structural shortcomings of capitalism.


Why not? Why wouldn't it be "just like now" with some minor differences in the details? The more your new state apparatus intervenes in the economy in the interests of equity, the less well your free market will function. Intervene in a really major way, and you'll be back to central planning again.

quote:

You appear to think, though, that as soon as the word "market" is brought up, it automatically means "capitalism" and thus the whole lot of accompanying problems.


Yes, that's an accurate summary of my views on the subject.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
First posted at Revolutionary Left on January 7, 2005
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

quote:

The first sentence, again, requires an overlap of producers and consumers...in other words, a utopian fantasy world.


Look...you think communism "is" a "utopian fantasy world".

It doesn't correspond with any of the assumptions of class society...assumptions that are clearly and deeply rooted in your own thinking.

What you want is a "nicer" version of what exists now.

Fine. Go for it!

If what I want is something completely different -- "a utopian fantasy world" -- then you have nothing to worry about. People will listen to you (the "realist") and ignore me (the "nutball").

But it's surrealistic for you to pretend to ask "questions" and then reply to my answers "Fantasy! Utopian! Won't work! People are not like that! Comic strip!"

No matter what answers I offered, your response would be the same.

quote:

Work will be work...we can make it less bad (hell, we can even make it good) but we can never make it better than leisure. After all, leisure is defined by doing what we want, not liking what we do.


In communist society work is defined as doing what we want.

I don't expect you to grasp that. It's "out of your league".

quote:

A socialist transition in the United States would almost certainly result in a socialist third world--or at least Latin America--within a few years.


No, it would result in a more vigorous native capitalism...because that's where they'd be at their present level of development if imperialism hadn't held them back by keeping domestic quislings in power.

Any "socialism" imposed on those countries would be socialism in name only.

quote:

The market gets a bad rap, really.


So...happy marketing!
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
First posted at Revolutionary Left on January 7, 2005
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
===========================================
Navigation
Welcome
Theory
Guest Book
Hype
Additional Reading
Links

Contact
Latest Theory Collections
Communists Against Religion -- Part 19 June 6, 2006
Conversations with Capitalists May 21, 2006
Vegetable Morality April 17, 2006
Parents and Children April 11, 2006
The Curse of Lenin's Mummy April 3, 2006
Defining Theory Collections
What Did Marx "Get Wrong"? September 13, 2004
Class in Post-Revolutionary Society - Part 1 July 9, 2004
Demarchy and a New Revolutionary Communist Movement November 13, 2003
A New Type of Communist Organization October 5, 2003
The "Tools" of Marxism July 19, 2003
Marxism Without the Crap July 3, 2003
What is Socialism? An Attempt at a Brief Definition June 19, 2003
What is Communism? A Brief Definition June 19, 2003
A New Communist Paradigm for the 21st Century May 8, 2003
On "Dialectics" -- The Heresy Posts May 8, 2003
Random Quote
Am I "narrow-minded" or "intolerant"? You bet your "Bible" I am! 6,000 years of bloody irrational tyranny is enough!  
Search

Search Internet
Search Website
Statistics
Duplicate entry '1152057286' for key 1