Market Socialism

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Tue Nov 1 12:31:46 MST 1994


Justin Schwartz:

Thank your for the prompt and succinct answer to my questions about your
vision of market socialism. But I do find it a little disturbing that you
answered 'yes' to just about all of those questions, since I had raised
what I thought would be the questions that would put market socialism
in the most unflattering light. I guess one person's meat is another
person's poison.

A follow-up thought:

It occurs to me that the success of Western Europe, Japan and United
States vis a vis the former Soviet bloc has less to do with the
efficiency of "markets" but more to do with their plunder of the third
world which occurred over a period of centuries and which catapulted
those countries into the modern, industrial era. The money that London
and Wall Street banks can advance to a manufacturing plant was at some point
in the distant past probably stolen from the Incas or the Aztecs.
Certainly the free-market system has a built-in dynamism, but how would
modern capitalism have advanced without the booty accumulated over
centuries. Before we take Adam Smith too seriously, we should remember
that capitalism has always been a global system. The wealth of some
nations has always been at the expense of others.

Which leads me to my next thought:

Under capitalism, the countries which export manufactured goods have
historically exploited those that export agricultural and mineral goods.
Under market socialism, what will prevent the nations of Africa, Asia and
Latin America from continuing their steep decline. For every 'success'
like South Korea, there are dozens of faiures like the Philipines, Zaire,
Bolivia, etc. It appears to me that "market socialism" would not only
present employees of uncompetitive firms with pink slips. It would also
reward uncompetitive nations with a similar fate.


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