[OPE-L] Market socialism's problems

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Tue Apr 24 2007 - 14:45:36 EDT

Dear AA,

What does it mean if I have a lack of methodological pluralism ? I believe
there is not one socialism, but many different socialisms.

I was not referring to a lack of mathematical reasoning, but to
conceptualisations which to my way of thinking are not very adequate. I am
not too fussed about the mathematics of it. Mathematics is important in
showing the quantitative implications of concepts and theories, but it
cannot substitute for conceptual development.

Stalinist-type socialism involved wiping out markets and substituting
central planning and countertrade, based on a communist monopoly of power.
This socialism, though effective for some time, failed. Why did it fail? One
possibility is that it failed, because the rush to de-marketise everything
had very bad effects. Another possibility is that lack of popular democracy
and bureaucratization got in the way of healthy motivations among economic
actors. Another possibility is that forced labour and lack of choice
demotivated the producers.

Social democracy (mixed economy or state capitalism) was very effective for
many decades. However, social democracy caved in to neoliberalism. Why?
Among other things, because subsidisation and dirigisme no longer
necessarily generate any social solidarity, and because state bureaucracies
and regulation are often an inefficient constraint. Social democracy is an
ideology of government managers, but if the populace is no longer interested
much in governmental politics, then the social democratic party has a
representational problem.

The socialist economic policy of the Dutch Socialist Party is fairly simple:

1) defence of a wellfunctioning public sector against marketisation and
2) promotion of a more egalitarian distribution of income and wealth.

These were traditionally social democratic policies, but the social
democrats gave up on those policies. Yet, there exists a very strong public
demand for a party with those policies, hence the Dutch Socialist Party
continues to grow in size and influence.


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