[OPE-L:2787] RE: socialism and planning

glevy@pratt.ed (glevy@pratt.edu)
Fri, 2 Aug 1996 08:27:36 -0700 (PDT)

[ show plain text ]

Paul C wrote in [OPE-L:2785]:

> The point is that there are only two alternatives known for controlling
> an industrial economy - the capitalist market mechanism or socialist
> planning.
> It is the job of political economists to prettify one or the other of
> these mechanisms, to attack the other, and if possible suggest
> possible improvements to the one they favour. [...]

I am *very* uncomfortable with the idea that it is our task to "prettify"
anything. Instead, I would agree more with what Marx wrote in an 1871
letter to Kugelman:

"If the construction of the future and its completion for all time
is not our task, all the more certain is what we must accomplish in
the present. I mean, the ruthless criticism of everything that
exists; the criticism being ruthless in the sense that it fears
neither its own results nor conflict with the powers that be."

I would go further to say that the attempts by some (Maurice Dobb comes to
mind) to "prettify" the realities of "socialism" have been a great
disservice to the credibility of Marxists.

In OPE-L Solidarity,