[OPE-L:6790] Re: Re: Re: Re: change the world

From: Ian Hunt (Ian.Hunt@flinders.edu.au)
Date: Wed Mar 20 2002 - 23:01:56 EST

Allin's question is a good one. Schweickart (*Against capitalism*) proposes
a workers' democracy: ie a market economy in which workers' collectives
produce goods for trade. Roemer proposes a socialist market economy in
which a central bank controls investment. Chris Arthur argues that
commodity production is inherently capitalist commodity production (or, at
least, that the categories of value and socially necessary labour time are
meaningful only under the capitalist mode of production). Allin and Paul
Cockshot, at least so far as I understand their position, propose a market
economy for consumption goods , with prices equal to labour values, labour
time wages discounted for welfare investment, etc, coupled with allocation
of producer goods. others propose bottom up planning, in which a computer
supported analogue of a walrasian auctioneer takes bids in physical terms
for consumption and production and reconciles them in annual plans.
Just how good is Marx's case (or attempts by eg Chris Arthur to develop it)
against markets?
Just how good is the Von Mises-Hayek case against central planning without
Is there no "third way" between central command planning and markets?

I think, with Allin, that attempts to develop arguably feasible
alternatives to capitalism are crucial to develop the confidence of
opponents to capitalism. It is demoralising for people of less than great
faith (and do we want to rely too heavily on that?) to have no arguably
ferasible alternative to the system, no matter how much they  may loathe it.

>On Wed, 20 Mar 2002, John Holloway wrote:
>>     Jerry says "I think that you're asking the right question --
>> "How to change the world?" -- but there is no simple answer and
>> answers will arise through praxis rather than mere academic
>> discourse."
>>     I imagine nobody on the list would disagree with that. But what
>> has changing the world got to do with Marxist economics?
>>     The thunderous silence on the question suggests that most people
>> on the list would say that there is no relation. Do most people feel
>> that Marxist economics is about studying the world as it is (the
>> functioning of the capitalist system) and that changing the world is
>> a different matter, a question of political organisation? In other
>> words, that praxis and academic discourse are quite separate
>> questions, as Jerry seems to suggest (?). This seems to me a
>> position that is theoretically and politically unsustainable.
>I agree entirely.  Paul Cockshott and I have argued at some length
>that Marxist economics should not just be about the analysis of
>capitalism (though obviously that's important) but also about the
>design of better economic mechanisms.  Developing ideas along these
>lines won't of itself change the world (i.e., not in abstraction from
>real political struggles), but it's a necessary part of the picture.
>"OK, you don't like capitalism: What should we replace it with?"
>Allin Cottrell.

Associate Professor Ian Hunt,
Director, Centre for Applied Philosophy,
Philosophy Dept, School of Humanities,
Flinders University of SA,
Humanities Building,
Bedford Park, SA, 5042,
Ph: (08) 8201 2054 Fax: (08) 8201 2784

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