Reply to: Re: Capitalist collectivizatio

Rahul Mahajan rahul at
Sun Apr 28 07:34:04 MDT 1996

>                Rahul,
>        Why you and Louis Proyect cannot fathom the idea that a person may
>disagree with you on one thing, like the market, without disagreeing with
>you on everything is beyond me.  You are relentless in your bourgeois social
>categorizing of people.  (previous post you called me a "flag waver"?  me?
>what the hell are you talking about?  Are you nuts?)

heck the archives.
>        First, I said that the Chinese/Soviet model of economic reform
>through political compulsion was inadequate.  Now, maybe I didn't go on for
>half a page about the horrors of starving Russian peasants, but I am trying
>to keep my arguments a little more intellectual than that.  Obviously you
>can't drag people from the land.  At the same time, attempts to prop up
>antiquated agricultural methods have not exactly been a stunning success,
>have they?
>        "Getting people off the land" is not the idea.  Giving people a
>reason to get off the land is the idea.  As for history, how does South Korea
>grab you?  Indonesia?  Japan?   Obviously these are capitalist versions of
>the goal, with their own, peculiar histories.  The trick is to get similar
>results but more peaceful, egalitarian, environmentally sound and socialist.
>Your groundless presumption that I profer " outright capitalism after some
>slight redistribution of capital" clearly shows the lack of intellectual
>rigor in the "command economy/market economy - socialism/capitalism"
>dichotomy that you were fed in school - and swallowed whole.

Indonesia? Give me a fucking break. As for history, read some. You will
find that what works is making the development of agriculture the first
priority. Furthermore, to say "like the tigers, but egalitarian and
socialist" is ludicrous. Their methods worked because they were
authoritarian countries, not to mention the help of US imperialism in South
Korea, Taiwan, and Japan.

Your last point seems to be a feeble counterattack on the question of
knowing something before you start spouting. In any case, I explicitly
distinguished between market socialism and your brand of uninformed crap.
I'm not even a proponent of a "command economy." You accept as given the
basic capitalist relations of procuction and consumption. You say the
workers want 32 identical brands of detergent with different names, so
that's what we need to give them.

>        Especially in land reform, I am talking about all out seizure of
>landowner holdings.  I am talking about creating co-ops with those holdings,
>tended by professional agricultural workers (who used to be peasants) who are
>shareholders in both the land and sister industries which are manned by
>industrial workers (who used to be peasants).  They sell their wares in
>the market, yes, but keep, as a community, all the profits.

This is a recipe for the reemergence of full-blown capitalism. Furthermore,
it's just the substitution of the individual profit motive for a profit
motive on the co-op level, an untenable situation and one that is hardly
consonant with socialism. What you want is all the idiocies of capitalism,
except with worker ownership of their own little enterprises.

>        The interesting point you make is about currency and its meaning
>in an imperialist world.  Panama pegged its currency to the US dollar.
>I've often wondered what effect that might have on a country trying to
>overcome capitalist prejudice against socialized economies.  Of course
>when capitalists give the third world the money whose value they enforce
>with imperialism, they do give them the right to purchase western goods
>for trade within their own country.

Very good. You know what "money" means. Now go to a library and figure out
what the terms of trade between first and third worlds are. Nobody gets to
"peg their currency to the US dollar" for free. When the US has a debt, all
it has to do is print more money (in the short-term) -- a third world
nation has to sell whatever goods it can produce or the rights to its raw
materials at ridiculously deflated prices, or agree to all kinds of
market-oriented "reforms" like cutting social services and tariffs in order
to borrow more money to pay off its old debts.

Things aren't quite so simple that you can just sit at your computer and
spin analyses of the global economy off the top of your head. I have no
further interest in this conversation.


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