Socialist Utopia

glevy at acnet.pratt.edu glevy at acnet.pratt.edu
Tue Jul 11 09:14:15 MDT 1995


I agree broadly with Tim's 9 AM post on this topic.  I do, though, want
to add a few points here about this enormously complex and important subject.

Tim is correct to point out that bureaucracy can not be ended overnight.
I think, though, that we have to struggle for a system that is
administrative rather than bureaucratic.  Some important principles
should include:

1) strengthening the actual mechanisms of accountability of public
representatives and managers to workers;

2) increasing workers' input in decision-making on all levels (firm,
local, national, etc.). {Louis P. made some good points today regarding
this question};

3) decreasing the economic incentives to managers and administrators. We
should argue, for instance, that personal enrichment and self-interest
should not be allowed to become the primary motivation for administrators;

4) decreasing the division of labor between mental and physical labor {a
point that Louis's post on Nove has relevance towards}.

Concerning the idea that "some" market activities should be tolerated
and encouraged, I believe that we should struggle for a conception of
market activity where workers control the market rather than the market
mechanism controlling workers.

There are, though, many unresolved questions such as:

1) how will the problems of scarcity and needs be addressed in this new
society?

2) how will we able able as a society to move away from material
incentives towards moral incentives? (this question relates to the
preceding question).

3) how will the issue of partial vs. general interest be handled?

4) with a limited role for the market, how will externalities be prevented?

5) with decentralization of decision-making, how will internalities be
prevented? {#4 and #5 are questions that have a *very important* meaning
for environmental -- and other social -- questions}.

6) given the unequal distribution of world wealth and the problem of
scarcity, how will wealth be redistributed internationally {this also
relates to #2 above}

Nove wrote that "permanent vigilance - permanent reform - will surely be
a 'must'."  I could not agree more with that statement.

Jerry

PS: My name is Gerald Levy. Pratt designated GLEVY for my e-mail
address.  I am not Gerry.  I prefer to be addressed with the more
informal name of Jerry in a group such as this where we are all comrades
(and in some cases) friends.


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