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 economy. --------------------------------------------------- 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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