[Marxism] china and smith

Mike Friedman mikedf at amnh.org
Sat May 24 10:36:08 MDT 2008

Methinks this is deterministic and ahistorical. First, it reduces social
development to "productive forces," i.e., the outdated economistic
base-superstructure argument, your disclaimer notwithstanding. Second, it
reduces history to an abstraction, that is it takes China out of its place
and time. Your argument would have been valid in the early 19th century.
Those "backwards steps" (i.e., from a workers state toward a rapacious
capitalism) are taking place in a 21st century global capitalist system.
These are not steps forward, steps toward socialism, in any sense. And
this is a very different question from the defense of Chinese
"self-determination." In any case, I would think defense of
self-determination was far more meaningful when the productive forces were
in the hands of the state than under the current set-up where China's
workers can now enjoy their exploitation at the hands of Nike, et al.

> Message: 2
> Date: Thu, 22 May 2008 12:06:49 +0200
> From: Dogan Gocmen <dgn.gcmn at googlemail.com>
> Subject: Re: [Marxism] china and smith
> michael a. lebowitz schrieb:
> Wondering if this was a typo. Did you mean to say 'the transition from
> communism to capitalism....' or is this a riff on that old tune of how
> development of productive forces brings you to socialism?
>  michael
> Dogan:
> Michael, in case of China I am tempted to see in those backwards steps
> in China also forward steps. I agreew ith you if you say that this
> process id full of contradictions. But I think we cannot ignore the fact
> that the development of productive forces are a very important element
> in the development of socialism. Bear in mind what Marx says in Capital:
> socialism cannot be established in a society of scarcity. Of course the
> establishment of a socialist society requires more than just the
> development of productive forces.
> My reply meant to refer to particularity of each country with its each
> particular way of developing to socialist society.
> Dogan

Michael Friedman
Ph.D. Candidate in Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior
City University of New York

Institute for Comparative Genomics
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American Museum of Natural History
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