Re: [OPE] market socialism

From: Alejandro Agafonow (
Date: Sun Jun 29 2008 - 15:01:14 EDT

DOGAN: «Marx' conclusion of his criticism of Proudhon's concept of the system of mutuality was that Proudhon wants capitalism without capitalists.»
Market Socialism and Guild Socialism are two different models. One should not confuse both.
Once differentiated, Market Socialism keeps out of the criticisms against mutualism. In addition, your idea of mutualism seems to me very much Syndicalism. I think that we can accept without any harm Mises’ criticism to Syndicalism. Even Otto Bauer took precautions against Syndicalism.
Market Socialism and Guild Socialism share a common Utopian Socialism basis, but one can not think about Market Socialism in terms of 19th century Utopian Socialism without incurring in an anachronism.
DOGAN: «"when everyone's entitled to get as much for himself as he can, all available property, however much there is of it, is bound to fall into the hands of a small minority, which means that everyone else is poor." How are you going to face this challange.»
I think that IAN WRIGHT summarized pretty well the answer:
«If a society had different rules that controlled the distribution of income -- in other words different macro-level constraints -- you would get much more egalitarian distributions of wealth even with markets.»
One of the concrete non-market mechanisms that prevent the concentration of property and the increment of inequalities is the functioning of a Social Found, financed with resources coming from the taxation of undesirable lines of consumption and extraordinary incomes (Nothing new for Scandinavian countries).
Every citizen would have an equal share upon this Found. Besides, there are primary goods that should be de-commoditized, as happens in Scandinavian countries and other industrialized economies indeed.
Market Socialism entails MILD inequalities, only necessaries for promoting autonomy and incentives. Scandinavian countries (plus Japan) are the only who have a Gini index between 20 and 30. I think that Market Socialism can achieve a Gini index between 10 and 20 without harming autonomy and incentives.
Is there any problem with “consumer sovereignty” –as JERRY think- having all the provisos we foresee and these mild inequalities? Of course there is not.
A. Agafonow

----- Mensaje original ----
De: Gerald Levy <>
Para: Outline on Political Economy mailing list <>
Enviado: domingo, 29 de junio, 2008 19:22:26
Asunto: Re: [OPE] market socialism

> So market socialism does not necessarily entail capitalist inequality.

Hi Ian:

OK, but it does entail:

1. inequality
2. consumer sovereignty, or the process of "dollar votes".

1. by itself  is not my concern here. But, when you combine
1 + 2 then you have a system in which the more income you have
the more role you have in determining what goods are produced 
and in what quantities. This implies an inequality of *decision-making*
since those with more income have more 'votes' in the marketplace.
This is not a democratic process at all.  A principle of democracy
is 1 person, one vote.  The principle of 'dollar votes' is one dollar,
one vote. So, if your concern is a socialist democracy then you 
should be very wary of market socialism.

I think it can also be shown historically that market socialist 
experiences have: 
a.  increased inequality;
b. created and then reproduced new elites and social stratification;
c. not been necessarily more democratic than other forms
of 'socialism'.

With the exception of the former Yugoslavia, market socialism
has not been linked to any concept or practice of workers'
control.  Often the group which has been empowered (e.g. in 
the 'New Economic Model' in Hungary) are managers.

In solidarity, Jerry
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