Did I ruffle a few feathers? :)

Chris M. Sciabarra sciabrrc at is2.NYU.EDU
Thu Sep 21 16:13:24 MDT 1995


On Thu, 21 Sep 1995, Louis N Proyect wrote:

> I guess I'm a hide-bound Marxist when it comes to these sorts of
> questions. I don't see much distinction between the government and
> corporations. Even the most cursory study of Clinton's career will go a
> long way to explain why Arkansas' rivers are filled with chicken-shit.
> The problem with your approach, Chris, is that it ignores the way
> capitalism operates in practice and substitutes an idealized model of the
> system that has never existed.

	Hey, it is true it never existed; but markets and prices do have
a good track record in most instances, and I think what I propose should
at least be tried in the absence of the kind of planning you would
prefer.

> Also, you have to be much sharper in your understanding of "pollution". I
> am not talking about smoke-stack emissions. I am talking about a society
> that revolves around the private production and sale of
> internal-combusion engine automobiles. The American people need decent,
> ecologically aware transportation, but late capitalism is completely tied
> up with the airline, automobile, trucking and oil business. This is not
> something that can be redressed by fines, it can only be redressed when
> those who produce the wealth of this society take control of the means of
> production and democratically decide what and how things are produced.

	This is all well and good; I simply don't know what democratic
decision-making will achieve without any specified standard of HOW it
will achieve such things.  Markets are imperfect because people are
imperfect, and the same can be said for planning.  It is just an issue of
what minimizes the imperfections.  Let's say planners together like a
particular technology, and move forward with it at amazing speed (similar
to the way they did with nuclear energy).  With no insurance and no
information as to the marketability or consumer accessibility of the
product, the technology moves forth and could conceivably destroy a
planet.  What is the mechanism to guard against this kind of potential
for wholesale planetary destruction?  All I'm saying is that markets tend
to localize the potentially devastating effects; a one-government
monopoly would universalize it.  Given the state's track record, I'm
skeptical.
					- Chris
==================================================
Dr. Chris M. Sciabarra
Visiting Scholar, NYU Department of Politics
INTERNET:  sciabrrc at is2.nyu.edu
==================================================


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