Re: [OPE-L] Differentiation and Two Socialist schools of thought

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Thu May 17 2007 - 18:12:07 EDT

Hi Paul C:

I'm not really comfortable with the process you are suggesting.  What
to produce should be decided by the people themselves rather than an
elite -- in this case, the "scientists".  If the scientists decide that
a product is harmful and some segment of the people still want it, then
that leads in the direction of a black market in your socialist
I am not saying that scientists should necessarily decide this,
though when the later Nobelist Boyd Orr was put in charge of
food planning in the UK during the war, ( being one of the worlds
leading nutritionists at the time ) the rationing system introduced
under his direction actually improved average nutrition despite
wartime shortages.

What I am saying is that it is possible to scientifically determine
that certain products are either harmful per-se, or harmful in excess.
This expert evidence could be made available to a dikasterion of 
citizens responsible for setting overall food plan targets. Such
a committee of ordinary citizens charged not to pursue their own
immediate interest but the general social interest, might well
decide that, for instance, the acreage allocated to tobacco farming
would be restricted.
 In a capitalist economy this might well result in illegal tobacco farms 
like current illegal cannabis farms. But this depends on the existence of money 
and commodities. If money does not exist in the socialist economy  if there
is no universal equivalent there will be no black markets. I see no practical 
way of eliminating the illegal drug trade in an economy with money and markets.

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