what about inequalities between firms (market socialism)

Justin Schwartz jschwart at freenet.columbus.oh.us
Fri Nov 4 21:16:19 MST 1994


On Fri, 4 Nov 1994 tgs at cunyvms1.gc.cuny.edu wrote:

> Well, I'm not going to begin by pulling my punches (to get across to workers).
> I'm going to first figure out what we need to do, lest I corrupt my theory
> by my understandable fears about how it will come across to workers. If it's
> planning that has to be gotten across, I can't sugarcoat it by talking about
> market socialism.

I do find that MS sells better in discussion with workers and working
class students, but I don't advocate it as a second best while thinking to
myself that planned socialism would be better. If planned socialism would
be better, or I thought it would, I'd advocate it anyway. But I am not
convinced that it would. My point about persuading real workers was this.
If you think you have something better you have to explain in reasonably
specific detail what it is and why it would be better. It will not due to
just attack what we have. Workers know that's bad. they just doubt that we
can do better. So if you think PS would be better, you have to say how and
why, and that means answering the Mises-Hayel critique. At the very least!
I find that working class people spontaneously come up with this critique
with no prompting. It's not a merely theoretical concern of intellectuals.

>
> The transitional program is the means by which we use practical language to
> get across the need for planning.
>

I do not think of MS as transitional except in the sense that everything is
transitional to something. As far as the arguments I have encountered go,
it is the best I think we can do from here.

> You're stacking the deck against me, Justin. I can't prove that planning will
> work, because it's never been given a chance.

You have to do better than that. It is not I but history which has
stacked the deck against you. At a minimum you have to state a model on
which PS would beat the calculation problem. If you cannot do in it a
model, the chances that you can do it in reality are slim. It cannot be
just a hope. It has to be grounded hope.

  It is admittedly a long shot,
> one which I would never encourage anyone to try unless what we have won't work.
> So my first task is necessarily to refute your arguments about market sociaism,
> to get you to see the need to work with me to make planning feasible (rather
> than joke about it as Stalinism with a human face)

Look. the best way you can get me on board is not to make problems for MS,
which I think even you will concede is better than capitalism if not as
goods as PS if that would work, but to give me a story about PS which
starts to allay the concerns which drive me and lots of other folks who
think about this to advocate MS as the best we can feasibly do. I posted
a critique of Albert and Hahnel a few days ago. Answer it!

--Justin




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