Re: [OPE-L] market socialism

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Thu Apr 19 2007 - 09:05:18 EDT

Hi Alejandro A:

Thanks for the response and clarifications.

>>> As I recently expressed it in another mailing list: the touchtone of
the last one type of market socialism is a phenomenon experienced
under capitalism and paradoxically pointed out by an Austrian, Joseph
Schumpeter. It is what he called the evaporation of the material
substance of property or what Neoclassical economists term the
principal-agent theory. It is the break of the property and management
of capital, where stockholders are prompted to hire managements and
make them act profitably. What would happen if the State takes the
place of the stockholders? <<<

A society governed by workers  state doesn't merely take the place of
stockholders.  The main issue concerns workers' empowerment and
democratic decision-making rather than merely determining the optimal
allocation of  resources. Social need, rather than merely efficiency,
must guide social decisions.

>>> It is true that Lange’s system implies a high degree of centralization
and sure because of this it loses the dynamic property of rivalry.
What turned him a market socialist was his undoubted acceptance of
consumers’ freedom to choose –an elusive issue in classical Marxism­–
and his vindication of subjective theory of value. <<<

Maybe (or maybe not?) Lange thought he was vindicating a subjective
theory of value (it's been a while since I read his book),  but I don't
see how it constitutes a vindication.

Of course, given the conditions in Poland when Lange was writing,  he was
concerned about consumer goods and on what basis they were produced
and allocated.   And, yes, it can be an "elusive issue" for many Marxists.
There is, for example, the question of whether workers collectively decide
ex ante what goods to produce in what quantities or whether they decide
ex post through their individual decisions in the market.  The latter
process raise some thorny issues concerning the possibility of increasing
inequality, wasted resources, and social stratification.

Once again, welcome to the list.  I look forward to your continued

In solidarity, Jerry

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