[OPE-L:4771] RE: SV and the F of D (reply to Paul C.)

From: P.J.Wells@open.ac.uk
Date: Sat Jan 13 2001 - 11:07:30 EST

I've been lurking on this discussion rather guiltily, having contributed to
its early stages:

1) a question on Gil's [OPE-L:4753]: he writes

>it does not 
>follow that
>large-scale production precludes worker self-sufficiency.  
>Rather, it says
>that workers can generally (not all production is large-scale) 
>only achieve
>self-sufficiency in *groups*, say groups the size of the labor force
>required in such large-scale productive enterprises.

Really? How are the workers at say General Motors to make themselves
self-sufficient in relation to e.g. the workers at Firestone?

I suppose you could answer this by saying that the groups have to be
*really* large -- completely vertically-integrated enterprises. But given
that, indirectly, virtually every commodity-type enters into the production
of virtually every other type, I still don't think this strategy would save
your point.

> Alternatively,
>workers might have ownership shares in several different large-scale
>enterprises, as envisioned in Roemer's models of market socialism.

Or as envisioned by those who would like to abolish public pension provision
and force everyone to "save" for their old age by contributing to private
investment funds?

At the risk of making my point over-pointedly, this seems to say that
present-day Chile is a workers' paradise.

2) I wonder how far the various contributors would agree to the following
summary (a) to (c) so far:

a) If the only tools were acres and mules, and we had enough of them, we
could share them out individually and re-establish simple commodity

b) History has irretrievably destroyed the first premise of (a), and modern
tools are "too big" to redistribute to individuals. 

c) The disagreement is what to do about (b).

Gil I understand to say that capitalism can be abolished without abolishing
market relations in respect of commodities (presumably including capital

Paul C I know believes in the possibility of replacing market relations of
all kinds with (democratic) central planning. What I am not sure about is
whether he conceives of the workers' state (as public power opposed to the
social power of large-scale production) *owning* the means of production,
either short or long term.


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