Scott Marshall Scott at
Sun Sep 17 18:27:00 MDT 1995

Steve in another very thoughtful post - though above my head on
the math said:

>(1) With respect to Scott's comment above, no, chaos theory does not leave
>us with accepting the 'way things are'; but it should makeus much more
>careful about attempting large scale changes. Chris captured well the
>issue that, in a chaotic system, unintended consequences can arise,
>and these are all the more likely the larger the change attempted.
>This is one reason that I see a traditional opposition in marxist thought
>between 'revolution' and 'reform' is misplaced. The large, 'one-step'
>change that revolution entails can easily lead to myriad 'unintended
>consequences'; I don't think I need volunteer examples of that! The
>'small step' change process that reform implies gives you more chance to
>uncover unintended consequences as you proceed. Of course, this also
>implies continued existence of the same old enemies for quite some time,
>but it could be argued that such devils you know may be better than the
>devils unintended consequences may create. Again, I doubt that examples
>are needed.

I too think that most argument that pits reform v. revolution is misplaced
and misses the dialectical relationship between the two. Still, to me, you
beg the question above. One important category of dialectics is quantity and
quality. Revolution is a qualitative change. Unless one accepts the notion
that there can be a gradual reformation of capitalism into socialism with no
fundamental change of class relationships and class power, without 'winning
the battle of democracy' then you are still stuck with revolution. If the
import of chaos is to put revolution so far off into the future that we must
accept that the 'poor will always be with us' or for the forseeable future -
then chaos is being used for reactionary purposes indeed. Only those who can
tolerate the system can afford such luxury. (a very undialectical idea in
itself the notion that we have such control over the timing of change anyway).

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