[OPE-L] Market Socialism's problems

From: Alejandro Agafonow (alejandro_agafonow@YAHOO.ES)
Date: Mon Apr 23 2007 - 17:42:07 EDT

Thank you very much for your interesting considerations fellows. I’m not capable to answer as fast as you. Today I’m going to consider statements by Cottrell, Cockshott and Jurriaan.

Cockshott on 04/22/2007: The term Market Socialism as used by Alejandro is a bit too ambiguous to my liking. It groups together people who disagree on very important issues.
Cottrell on 23/04/2007: Alejandro: if this is not what you mean by "market socialism", could you specify what you do mean? a) money should be retained in a socialist economy b) that roduction 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.
Who could reject that Raya Dunayevskaya, Carl Landauer and Evsei Liberman disagree on very important issues? And who could reject to call them Marxists?
Disagreements between members of the same School of Thought are something normal. Nevertheless, to identify something like a School there has to be a minimal research program that all members share. Is there a research program related with Market Socialism? Yes it is. It comprises the following points accepted by all members:
1) The vindication of some sort of subjective theory of value.
2) Private property of means of production is not a necessary condition for economic calculation and economic efficiency.
3) An economy encouraging freedom to choose is a necessary condition for economic calculation and/or an ethical must.
4) In absence of appropriate technology a central planned economy like that proposed by classical Marxism is impossible and even though the technology would exist it implies ethical handicaps.
As I have written in past e-mails, within this minimal program we could identify two main groups. That one Oskar Lange belongs to opposed the decentralization of production. But there is another group which I belong to that thinks decentralization of production is a must and doesn’t imply renounce that minimal research program (the use of money has to be kept according to both groups).

Jurriaan on 04/22/2007: The trouble with the doctrine of "market socialism" is that it is an economic theory only propagated mainly by academics who are not economists […] So the "market socialism" is more a slogan touted by academics, than a profound theory with substantive content.
Even though I share another aspect of Jurriaan’s statements, I think this quotation reveals a lack of methodological pluralism. Besides, if Jurriaan wanted to mean by profound and rigorously the relative lacking of mathematics in market socialism and its followers, this idea would revel a striking mystification of mathematical reasoning applied to economics and a lack of knowledge about the distortion of economic problems thanks to mathematization. Austrians have made a good case of this issue. But I don’t know exactly what Jurriaan wanted to mean on this last matter.
If market socialists accept to lean on subjective theories of value, it is a hazardous matter to assert that this socialism is relatively underdeveloped, considering the superiority of these theories on economic calculation feasible solutions. Historically considered, Marxism has a relative backwardness on this matter. What certainly are relatively careless issues in market socialism include the linkages between market and non-market devises, an issue by far advanced in policy practical matters at Social democrats countries (Scandinavian ones).
Best regards,
Alejandro Agafonow

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