Re: [OPE-L] what is irrational in the functioning of capitalism and socialism?

From: Jerry Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Tue Nov 21 2006 - 05:15:42 EST

> Elmar Altvater and Ernest Mandel talked about capitalist society as
> "combining partial rationality and overall irrationality". The idea here
> is that behaviour which makes perfect sense at the micro-level (it is
> reasonable and rational) has macro-level effects which are irrational and
> harmful, and conversely macro-policies which seem rational have
> micro-effects which are irrational. This is closely related to the notion
> of  unintended consequences, i.e. that the final or aggregate effect of
> actions may be different or opposite to what is intended.

Hi Jurriaan:

Similar types of problems have been experienced in 'socialist' countries
as well: they are sometimes referred to as internalities.

> The underlying idea here is that a rational society would be a society in
> which individual interests
> and societal/communal interests would be compatible or harmonious, rather
> than conflict, i.e. that societal irrationality is in good part caused by
> its structure, the way it is organised.

Even in a 'socialist' society there is struggle.  How is it possible for
such a society to have both 'harmony' and struggle?

In solidarity, Jerry

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