Re: [OPE-L] Che's/martinez's Economics

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Mon May 07 2007 - 14:06:08 EDT

Well as the experience of those restoring capitalism shows, in order
to create the new capitalist entrepreneurial man envisaged by Hayek,
education had to be used to transform people there too. So one can
not ignore the role of education, but one can not place too much
reliance on it either.

If one emphasises education and the new socialist man, which of course
the CUbans and CHinese laid great emphasis on in the 60s. one runs
the danger of sliding into a moralism. If the production relations
do not support and induce a particular behaviour pattern, moral
and educational exhoration are not going to be sucessfull in the long
run. Were moral exhortation enough, we should follow Ambedkar's advice
and turn to Buddha not Marx.

One has to have production relations which encourage cooperative labour
to the benefit of society, and which discourage misallocation and waste
of labour.

My take on the failings of hithertoo existing socialism relate centrally
to the retention of money and the wage form. Workers still only got back
part of the value they produced in wages, this meant that however much
moral pressure was put on them to contribute to society, they 
were only getting back part of what they put in. This inevitably
undermines moral pressure to work for society.

The socialist states attempted both to jump over Marx's first stage
of communist, and at the same time to postpone it. Jump over in that
they did not recognise the need to pass through a full phase of bourgeois
right with respect to labour, and postpone it, by retaining unequal
distribution according to labour. Mao in his latter years recognised
this to a greater or lesser extent ( see his remarks on the 8 grade wage
system ), but he did not give a clear exposition of the problem.

This critique was shared by others in the 'value economy' school of socialism
like Arno Peters and Konrad Zuse.

Paul Cockshott

-----Original Message-----
From: OPE-L on behalf of paul bullock
Sent: Mon 5/7/2007 12:12 PM
Subject: Re: [OPE-L] Che's/martinez's Economics
Paul, this is all very well,

but how does the 'system' ensure full and creative application of mutually 
supportuing efforts on the parts of the 'employees', with the purpose of the 
operation and the other workers benefiting from/enjoying  the arrangements? 
This was the central question Che was wanting to discuss and was not simply 
the deletion of economic laws by him, as Martinez also feels ( as well as 
his trotsyists).....

qui a de facto supprimé le poids du caractère objectif des lois économiques 
socialisme en faveur d'un rôle principal de l'éducation et de la
conscience socialiste (lequel, malheureusement, est vrai à un degré

........ whatever new system of 'accounting' is introduced it cannot ignore 
the educational element as a central feature.

paul b.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Paul Cockshott" <clyder@GN.APC.ORG>
Sent: Sunday, May 06, 2007 11:12 PM
Subject: Re: [OPE-L] Che's Economics

> Alejandro Agafonow wrote:
>> The drama of Che-Gevara and his followers was that they didn't count with 
>> the appropriate technology to abrogate the "law of value" in a socialist 
>> economy; the technology to manage the huge apparatus of labour time 
>> accounting. If Che were living today I think he would join C&C 
>> alternative.
> If Martinez is correct in his account of Guevara's economic thought, for 
> instance in this passage:
> "Guevara rejette ès le début le concept de la libre entreprise dans le 
> secteur socialiste, qui est incarné par la capacité de l'individu 
> économique soumis pour agir comme un producteur plus ou moins indépendant, 
> depuis que
>    '.dans les pays socialistes, l'entreprise possède un crédit de
>    banque, acquiert de l'argent, produit avec l'argent qu'il reçoit,
>    vend sa production et accorde ensuite à l'État une partie du
>    bénéfice et une partie de ce bénéfice est préservée pour des besoins
>    internes. La différence est que notre société ne vend pas, mais
>    livre les produits et les ouvriers sont récompensés par l'État '
>    (Che Guevara, la Conférence ' l'Économie et le Plan ' de
>    l'Université Populaire, 1961. Traduit d'Espagnol.)
> Dans le système de Guevara l'entreprise ne vend pas, car la 
> marchandise-argent prend effet et dans la forme et dans le contenu 
> seulement quand le produit est aliéné par un producteur indépendant ou le 
> consommateur individuel. Guevara comprend la rétribution de l'ouvrier dans 
> l'entreprise socialiste comme une opération, dans laquelle dans l'essence 
> le travailleur socialiste établit un rapport d'employé employeur avec 
> l'état socialiste, contournant l'entreprise. Nous croyons qu'il considère 
> ce rapport du point de vue essentiel du rapport de travail, comme en 
> réalité ce rapport doit inévitablement prendre la forme d'emploi via 
> l'entreprise individuelle."
> Then this does seem to be the same form of property relations that Allin 
> and I were to advocate much later:
> "In our model projects have labour budgets set by Planning; these control 
> the
> amount of resources that they can use. Although a project will not be 
> allocated
> resources in excess of its budget, this type of allocation is functionally 
> different
> from a monetary budget. It is not used to purchase resources. This can be
> illustrated by considering labour inputs.
> Consider a project to run a local leisure centre. It is allocated an 
> annual
> budget of 20 person-years, along with the use of a suitable building. The 
> centre's
> budget acts as a control on its use of resources. The project registers 
> with the
> planning authorities that half of this will go on staff and the rest on 
> power,
> equipment and maintenance. The leisure centre itself does not pay the 
> people
> who work on the project. The work these people do is deducted from the 
> centre's
> budget, but unlike money it is not transferred into any other account, it 
> is just
> cancelled out. Similarly any use of material resources like sports 
> equipment will
> result in deductions from the budget, but nobody is 'paid' for the 
> equipment,
> since the resources and the project are all equally community property. 
> Staff in
> the centre are credited by the planning authority, not the leisure centre 
> itself, for
> the work they have done. Since the project is in no sense an economic 
> subject
> (i.e. a subject of property right), the issue of bankruptcy cannot arise. 
> Planning
> must, however, be at liberty to terminate particular projects if they are 
> deemed
> not to be cost-effective, just as a local education authority can close 
> down a
> school if the school rolls no longer justify keeping it open.
> Decisions to close projects, if they are to be better than arbitrary, 
> presuppose
> the existence of a rational system of economic calculation. We have shown 
> in
> previous chapters that there are no fundamental problems in carrying out 
> such
> calculation without recourse to the market. At the same time such closures
> must not cause unemployment. At the gross level unemployment is prevented
> by balancing the national budget in terms of labour. As explained in 
> chapter 7,
> any shortfall in aggregate demand is compensated for by the marketing 
> authority
> marking down all consumer goods prices. This means that there is no 
> possibility
> of a fall in demand sparking off a recessionary spiral, which is a major 
> cause
> of unemployment in capitalist economies. But if generalised 
> demand-deficient
> unemployment is ruled out, this still leaves the problem of redeployment. 
> If your
> project is cancelled, the activity you were involved in has become 
> redundant.
> That does not mean that you have become redundant; you have the right to
> expect society to protect your income and provide you with other work-but
> how exactly should this right be secured?
> We envisage a system in which people are directly employed by the 
> community
> rather than by companies or independent 'enterprises'. It is always in the
> interest of society that workers should be redeployed as quickly and 
> efficiently
> as possible when their previous work is no longer useful; by making 
> 'society' the
> actual employer this interest is borne home."
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