William Mandel on Cuba, Brazil and Venezuela and socialism v. capitalism?

Jim Farmelant farmelantj at juno.com
Sun Dec 29 19:32:27 MST 2002

I was rather surprised when I read those remarks
by Mandel, and I am not at all sure exactly whait it is
that he intended by them.  For instance I am not
all clear what he means by the term "market economy"?
Is he referring to capitalist economies, to market
socialist economies, both?  If he is arguing for the
general superiority of capitalism over socialism,
then that to my mind is not a defensible thesis.
On the other hand it is possible that he is arguing
that socialism in developing countries has not
availed itself of the use of markets and thus
has suffered disappointing economic results.
That would take us back to a discussion of such
matters as NEP in the Soviet Union and of the
adoption of NEP-like policies in various socialist
countries including China and Cuba. It also
might take us into a discussion of the socialist
calculation debate including the arguments
between Oskar Lange and F.A. Hayek over
the theoretical fesisiblity of a rational socialist
economic planning, etc.

Right now as things stand though, I am rather puzzled
by William Mandel's remarks.

Jim F.

On Sun, 29 Dec 2002 20:09:14 -0500 Mike Friedman <mikedf at amnh.org>
> George, you're right. For someone who is allegedly careful with his
> facts,
> Mandel makes an AWFULLY fuzzy and tendentious comment when he
> alleges that
> "[...] the economic record shows that a market economy, for all its
> ups and
> downs and unfairness and cruelty, brings a higher living standard to
> a
> larger proportion of the people than does Marxist socialism. " A
> higher
> standard to a larger proportion of WHICH people? The world's
> population?
> People in socialist countries before and after their revolutions?
> The
> latter is the ONLY valid comparison, and in that case his argument
> is
> patently false. One could also question his definition of "Marxist
> socialism."
> Mike
> At 07:47 PM 12/29/2002 -0500, you wrote:
> >Date: Sun, 29 Dec 2002 13:13:35 -0500
> >From: "George Snedeker" <snedeker at concentric.net>
> >Subject: socialism v. capitalism?
> >
> >Bill Mandel remarks, " And the economic record shows
> >that a market economy, for all its ups and downs and
> >unfairness and cruelty, brings a higher living standard to a
> >larger proportion of the people than does Marxist socialism. " now,
> on the
> >surface this seems to be a valid statement. but what is the basis
> for
> >comparison? the advanced capitalist societies do pretty well in
> providing
> >goods and services to most people. but what about the rest of the
> capitalist
> >world? well, there the story is not so clear. many people
> throughout Asia,
> >Africa and Latin America do not live very well under market
> economies. why
> >was it necessary for Mandel to throw out the baby with the bath
> water
> >because the Soviet centrally planned economies failed. is this the
> God that
> >failed all over again? and just how can anyone know that a better
> form of
> >society is not possible?
> >

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