It was 26 years ago...

wesley david cecil wcecil at
Thu Aug 25 09:28:14 MDT 1994

On Wed, 24 Aug 1994, Louis N Proyect wrote:

> 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."

I think you are quite correct about the threat of a positive example, but
I wonder if making sure every one has *some* consumer goods is
sufficient.  The driving force of a consumer society is the continuous
production of desire.  If we ever decide "well I have pretty much
everything I want" then the whole thing screeches to a hault(80% of the
U.S. economy is driven by consumer goods and consumer services like
travel). So while it seems reasonable to say that socialist societies can
quite literally deliver the goods, it is perhaps not all that easy to
implement.  Not to say it is not worth a try(can you think of other
examples) just that it is hard to theorise the ideological values
necessary for a limited goods society if it has to compete with the myth
of unlimited wealth.


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