What is uneconomic under capitalism does not become economic under socialism.

Jurriaan Bendien J.Bendien at wolmail.nl
Sat Dec 14 15:28:26 MST 2002

Mark wrote:

"You mean the work which the bureaucracy decides needs to be done, and
accordingly allocates 'incentives' or sanctions, in order to get done?"

No, I mean the work that objectively needs to get done so that you get your
breakfast, lunch and dinner, petrol for your vehicle, power for your PC and
domestic appliances, equipment for your home, condoms, haircuts, medical
attention, toiletries and so forth. You take all that for granted now, in a
reified world, but upon a social revolution you cannot take those "things"
for granted. Their provision must be organised, and for this we need
organisers, not people who think they can live on their back for the rest of
their days.

"Incentives actually equals coercion, plus control of production and
distribution of the product, plus the emergence of  a ruling elite which
decides on behalf of the masses what needs to be done".

Wrong. The coercion exists anyway, since people must survive. Incentives are
merely non-coercive instruments to encourage people to modify their
behaviour in line with the social priorities of a workers state.

"Incentives=secret policemen".

This does not follow at all. I have personally dodged a lot of "incentives"
in my life, including finely scented ones, without any secret policemen
being involved.

"I am against bureaucratic socialism. I am also against market socialism
which equals capitalist restoration.  I am in favour of a
socialism which as its first act decrees a living wage to all without
exceptions or exclusions, and which goes on from there".

I share your lofty sentiment, but that doesn't get the job done. I leave you
with a quote from old Engels, who sometimes wrote a bit too fast but was on
the whole pretty sharp - it bears thinking about as an antidote to hippy
dreams about a perfect world:

"We have thus seen that, on the one hand, a certain authority, no matter how
delegated, and, on the other hand, a certain subordination, are things
which, independently of all social organisation, are imposed upon us
together with the material conditions under which we produce and make
products circulate. We have seen, besides, that the material conditions of
production and circulation inevitably develop with large-scale industry and
large-scale agriculture, and increasingly tend to enlarge the scope of this
authority. Hence it is absurd to speak of the principle of authority as
being absolutely evil, and of the principle of autonomy as being absolutely
good. Authority and autonomy are relative things whose spheres vary with the
various phases of the development of society. If the autonomists confined
themselves to saying that the social organisation of the future would
restrict authority solely to the limits within which the conditions of
production render it inevitable, we could understand each other; but they
are blind to all facts that make the thing necessary and they passionately
fight the world. Why do the anti-authoritarians not confine themselves to
crying out against political authority, the state? (...) Have these
gentlemen ever seen a revolution? A revolution is certainly the most
authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the
population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets
and cannon -- authoritarian means, if such there be at all; and if the
victorious party does not want to have fought in vain, it must maintain this
rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire in the reactionists.
(...) Therefore, either one of two things: either the anti-authoritarians
don't know what they're talking about, in which case they are creating
nothing but confusion; or they do know, and in that case they are betraying
the movement of the proletariat. In either case they serve the reaction.
(Engels, On Authority, 1872).


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