Re: [OPE-L] Meaning of market socialism

From: Ian Hunt (ian.hunt@FLINDERS.EDU.AU)
Date: Mon Apr 23 2007 - 06:31:17 EDT


On your view there is really no such thing as "market socialism":
this seems a bit extreme. Ownership is a complex relation (I have
seen 9 "incidents" of ownership cited)-its management aspects can be
separated from its ultimate beneficiary aspects , corresponding with
the separation between industrial and financial capital)). This would
seem to allow a notion of market socialism, where the whole people
own the assets of firms but the products may be alienated from the
firm, which is  managed independently of others so as to sustain at
least a quasi-commodity relationship.

This should be distinguished from a private property market economy
where the firms are privately owned as collectives of workers. This
is not capitalism, for obvious reasons, since we do not have the
capital-wage worker relationship. Schweickart's "economic democracy"
would be an example.

Both should be distinguished from various possible forms of
production for use, where productive  resources are publicly owned.



>On Sun, 22 Apr 2007, Paul Cockshott wrote:
>>  I would not describe myself as a market socialist even though I am
>>  infavour of the use of certain market mechanisms in the allocation
>>  of consumer goods. What I oppose is the idea that
>>  a) money should be retained in a socialist economy
>>  b) that production should be organised around enterprises which have
>>     disposition over their own means of production and which reproduce
>>     themselves by the purchase and sale of commodities.
>I'll chip in on this.  It seems to me that Paul's (a) and (b) are
>more or less the defining characteristics of "market socialism"
>properly so called (and like Paul I oppose both ideas).  In
>practical terms, the autonomy of the enterprise has been the
>rallying cry of market-socialist "reformers" whose aim was to
>scrap central planning, from Czechoslovakia in the 1960s to the
>Gorbachev era in Russia.  In my view socialism with autonomous
>enterprises is an incoherent notion, and in practice constitutes
>the first (decisive) step towards the restoration of capitalism.
>Alejandro: if this is not what you mean by "market socialism",
>could you specify what you do mean?
>Allin Cottrell

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

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