It was 26 years ago...

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Wed Aug 24 14:00:05 MDT 1994


Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the election of Violetta
Chamorro in Nicaragua, Barbara Ehrenreich told a plenary session of the
Socialists Scholars Conference that the left must accomodate itself to
the free market since it was obvious that people living in
post-capitalist societies would never relinquish their desire for
consumer goods--bananas, pornographic video, etc.

What has happened in the meantime, however, is that the standard of
living has dropped in most of those countries, like Nicaragua and East
Germany, that have 'embraced' the free-market. Bananas and pornographic
video are only available to those who have winning tickets in the lottery
(mostly the apparatchiks of the old regime.)

Can socialism deliver consumer goods? I think that the great tragedy of
the Czech experiment of 1968 was that it was not allowed to continue and
flourish. I believe that the model that was being pursued might have
produced genuine democracy, a green environment *and* consumer goods. No
wonder it was nipped in the bud. It was what Chomsky called the "threat
of a positive example."

On Wed, 24 Aug 1994, wesley david cecil
wrote:

> First, soem Marxist critics
> are quick to criticze consumerism but really people just love it(myself
> included, although it runs contrary to all of my beliefs).  So while 15
> kinds of toothpaste seems like a waste when most of the world does not
>


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