Justin, democracy is a two-edged sword

tgs at cunyvms1.gc.cuny.edu tgs at cunyvms1.gc.cuny.edu
Wed Nov 9 14:00:22 MST 1994

Thanks for the recent post on market socialism. When I have the time,
I want to respond to it at length.  But here's a point I want to make now:

You say that Andrew and I are foolish that democracy is the solution for
planning.  In democracy, you have said many times, my single consumer
input/vote gets lost among a million others.

Let's accept this for the sake of the argument (I'll trash it in a bit).
You also say, however, that in your market socialist scheme, there will be
not only a market run by producers, in their individual firms, but also a
DEMOCRATIC state, which will regulate this market to see to it that it
does not become inegalitarian.

My point: Your centrallized state model of democracy would work not better with
market socialism than it works with planning.  How can my vote, lost among
a million others, stop corruption?

Yet I would also argue that centralized "democracy" is intrinsic to market
socialism models, because, as I have said, the producers act as private groups
within a market, and are thus subject to inter-group conflicts of interest.
Thus a "strong" centralized state is necessary to keep these conflicts in

In the hopelessly utopian model of democratic planning, however, the producers
form a public within the economy, and have very strong common interests.
Therefore, a strong centralized state is not needed.

What is needed, and what is eminently possible, for and with democratic planning
is a decentralized democracy, a la the Paris Commune.  With local, regional,
and national assemblies SHARING power as is appropriate, my vote counts for
much more.




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