Hayek, USSR, and All that...

Tue Sep 27 08:25:04 MDT 1994

     Just a very quick comment with regard to some of Paul
Cockshott's observations.  Paul states that "The application
of Hayekian doctrines to the former USSR is of course having
effects a whole order of magnitude worse."

     I would hardly qualify the former USSR as a victim of
Hayekian doctrines, anymore than I would qualify the
contemporary USA as a paradigm of Hayekian free markets.
Hayek was no advocate of vulgar economism; like Marx, he
fully recognized the vast, organic inter-relationships
between economics, politics, culture, etc.  To qualify the
USSR as even remotely Hayekian, it would have to embrace a
system of private property, decentralized banking and
finance, the free-flowing price mechanism, the rule of law to
protect carefully delineated individual rights, and a CULTURE
that is not anathema to material progress, entrepreneurial
innovation, and voluntary cooperation amongst individuals.
Hayek, like Marx, recognized that any change in material
social conditions could not be brought about in the absence
of a larger, more organic social change.

     Paul also suggests that the Communist revolution was not
"a terrible disaster," and he looks to "the millions of
soviet workers who fought fascism to defend socialism" as one
of the sparkling achievements of the Soviets.

     First of all, I cannot believe, in this day and age,
that ANYONE would find solace in that "revolution."  The
millions of soviet workers who fought fascism, were certainly
not defending "socialism" in the "Marxian" sense; they were
defending Stalinist-nationalist statism.  The Soviet
experiment was MOST successful in building a military
machine, and an internal network of terror.  Their economy
was a shambles, their culture preserved many of the mystical
elements of pre-Bolshevik Russia, and their politics has not
been REMOTELY democratic or libertarian.  Ironically, I think
that Marx AND Hayek might have agreed about the inefficacy of
the Soviet experiment, except that while Marx would have
probably seen the Soviet revolution as historically
premature, Hayek would have argued that socialism, in its
purest form, was nothing more than constructivistic,
rationalistic serfdom.

                              - Chris
Dr. Chris M. Sciabarra
Visiting Scholar, N.Y.U. Department of Politics
INTERNET:  sciabrrc at acfcluster.nyu.edu
  BITNET:  sciabrrc at nyuacf


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