My favourite Mandels

Jurriaan Bendien J.Bendien at
Mon Dec 30 13:50:18 MST 2002

William Mandel writes "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."

The point is that this very premise is unproven, in several ways:

- compare e.g. the history of the USSR and India since 1917, and check the
growth in popular living standards
- consider the growth of economic destitution in East European countries and
the CIS republics since the introduction of the  "market regime".
- "Marxist socialism" was never genuinely practised in the USSR anyway,
since it assumes real democratic participation of the masses in political

Our epoch is in reality the epoch of the slow decay of capitalist
civilisation, and the only question really is what can transcend it - some
form of socialism, or military dictatorships. This decay may be less obvious
in rich countries, which still profit from cheap imported consumer goods and
raw materials, and selling technological expertise, but that isn't most of
the world. Even then, consider that Germany, the strongest economy in
Europe, has 4 million unemployed which off the top of my head must mean
roughly one in ten workers out of work. There's no way that more
marketisation and privatisation is going to solve that problem in aggregate.
In fact it makes it worse overall.

My favourite Mandels are David Mandel on the (former) USSR and Ernest Mandel
on Marxism. Perhaps William should concentrate more on these namesakes
before making such hasty comments.


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