what about inequalities between firms (market socialism)

tgs at cunyvms1.gc.cuny.edu tgs at cunyvms1.gc.cuny.edu
Sat Nov 5 06:08:48 MST 1994


Justin,
I DO NOT admit that MS is better than capitalism.  Within YOUR MIND, it is
certainly better as a moral motivation, than is the profit motive within
that of the capitalists' "mind" (which I also take to embrace the objective
structure of capitalism, which involves markets).

I.   But MS is capitalism, in
my mind.  It leads to capitalism, for the following reasons:

 The inequalities to which it leads, between and inside firms.  The fact
that the state is composed of mortals, as well, who are corruptible by these
inequalities, and will tend to serve rather than repress whatewver nascent
CAPITALIST CLASS arises out of these inegalitarian dynamics.

One can certainly  abolish capitalism within, let's call it producers'
marketism, within one's own mind.  But within the structure of reality, it
will not work, for these reasons.

 Hayek and Mises posit
a Hobbesian human nature, which I consider to be a species of reification,
and which therefore I do not agree. I can't, to your laboratory-like specs,
prove this critique, any more than I can prove anything like this in social
science.  But one thing I would argue is that human consciousness and behavior
is a product of social relations.  So if it's human selfishness and corruption
that Hayek and MIses are so concerned with (which they argue
inevitably gives rise to bureaucracies under planning), I can think of no more
fertile ground for it than market economic relations, whether the present
capitalist  class has been abolished or no.

II.  Market socialism still retains the market, yet attempts to abolish
exploitation.  This in fact makes it worse than capitalism, as McNally
points out.  It is much less efficient, and leads in fact to chaos.  This is
because you can't have your cake and eat it too.  If you want the unconsciously
rational market, you have to accept the commodification and thus exploitation
of labor which it underlies that "rationality." If you don't, and the
market regulator is left in place (rather than relegated to a useful but
carefully controlled fiction within a system in which democratic planning
is in firm control of the setting of "prices") than the economy goes haywire.

III. Market socialism, since it fails to abolish the profit motive (only
seeking to universalize it, as Wes gets at with his Groucho Marx quote from
the Econo-Phil. Mss), is just as subject as is capitalism proper to secular
economic decline.  This is because the profit motive gives rise to a rising
organic composition of capital.  So does planning,  but with this difference:
in market socialism and capitalism, motivation for investment is handed over
to private individuals/groups of workers, who are seeking with their investments
profits which are on the decline.  In planning, investment is planned by the
whole community, the profit motive has been abolished.  Investment is planned
according to human needs.  This means that planning utilizes fully the incredible
productive capacity of automation, and is fully compatible with it.  But with
the market/profit motive, the rising organic composition of capital causes
havoc.

Please read once over carefully before, or at least after, you start replying.
The line item veto has its disadvantages in terms of comprehending the other's
global point of view.

Tom

P.S. sent you the Magas piece.  Let me know when you've read it: by that point,
there may be a favor I need to ask.


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