Soviet statistics

Andrew Wayne Austin aaustin at
Mon Aug 23 08:15:42 MDT 1999

It depends on how one defines democracy as to whether it makes any sense
to speak of capitalist countries as having democracy. If democracy is the
ability to choose party-selected political leaders who have no real
control over the primary engine of development, then capitalism can be
said to be almost always democratic. But if democracy means collective
self-control over the structural mechanisms of history then capitalism has
never been nor can it ever be democratic. Moreover, collective
self-control over the direction of history requires foremost than that
objective interests of the people are secured not that the people possess

If we are to accept an argument that capitalism is a unique system of
tyranny wherein bureaucracy does not develop then we should have to ignore
the stifling social order that has developed from industrialization and
bureaucratic rationalism. This is an easy deception to embrace given the
virtually seemless dissimulation of bureaucratic ordering inherent in
capitalist development. But moving beyond the lies that formal democracy
is substantive democracy and that capitalism is less bureaucratic than
state socialism, and reckoning capitalism as it has been for most of
history and for most of humanity, we find a social ordering that, despite
the illusion of choice, is as tyrannical as any other historical system
wherein the people are denied collective self-control.

The brute fact is that most people living under capitalism in this century
would have been better off and more free living under state socialism.


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