Why the shift to a socialist market economy?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Jul 11 13:00:45 MDT 2003

> Author: Erwin Marquit - People Before Profits
> People's Weekly World Newspaper, 07/10/03 11:05
> The introduction of the socialist planned economy to utilize a nation's
> resources in what appeared to be the most rational way was, in reality,
> premature and, despite its many powerfully positive accomplishments, must be
> viewed as a variant of utopian socialism. The decision in Vietnam, China,
> and, to a lesser extent, Cuba to move to a socialist market economy should
> therefore not be considered a retreat but a historical-materialist
> recognition of the necessity of not skipping stages of social evolution.
> A socialist market economy will certainly have its problems, as I will show
> in next week's article with the example of Vietnam. The standard of living
> of the people there has nonetheless risen severalfold, a positive result
> that outweighs the social cost.

I have written extensively about market socialism:






Basically, my problem with Marquit (and James Lawler's) defense of
market socialism is that it is presented in a one-sided fashion. It
reflects an ideological retreat from Marxism. I have no problem
understanding why Cuba would have to allow in tourist hotels, but why
turn necessity into a virtue? During the 1950s, the USSR had the highest
growth rate in the world, according to the CIA. It could have sustained
this growth if it wasn't run by such a hidebound bureaucracy. It is one
thing to build hydroelectric dams or railroads with people like Brezhnev
in charge. It is another to react dynamically and creatively to the
consumer and high technology sectors, which requires a free flow of
information. If you are intent on controlling ideological deviations of
one sort or another, naturally you will create a hostile environment for
research and development.


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