[Marxism] RE: USSR, Democracy and the Environment

Calvin Broadbent calvinbroadbent at hotmail.com
Sun May 16 12:43:56 MDT 2004

Hi Louis and Melvin,
Thanks for your posts- much appreciated. Do you think, as some Trotskyists 
seem to have it, that given that (or 'if') the USSR was in competition with 
the capitalist West, and trying to 'outproduce' it and outperform the West 
economically, that the 'law of value', the determination of production 
according to the laws of exchange value, was still in operation? Was the 
USSR primarily producing for the purposes of exchange for (state) profit? If 
so, was this 'intensive' drive by the State to accumulate profit responsible 
to some degree for the degradation of the environment? I certainly look 
forward to reading Melvin's (hopefully) upcoming posts on the economic 
character of the Soviet Union and his views on Mark Jones' writings.
Thanks again.

>Message: 8
>Date: Sat, 15 May 2004 10:44:27 -0400
>From: Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com>
>Subject: Re: [Marxism] RE: USSR, Democracy, and the Environment
>To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
>	<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
>Message-ID: <40A62CCB.4080806 at panix.com>
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
>Calvin Broadbent wrote:
> > Dear all,
> > I would really appreciate it if anyone could respond to me concerning
> > a problem I am thinking over. The question I am considering is 'was
> > the environmental degradation in the USSR (like chernobyl, sulphur
> > pollution, air pollution, environmentally costly  mining, etc.) the
> > result of undemocratic politics'? Was environmental devastation a
> > result of the dictates of the Soviet planned (or I think better)
> > command economy? I have been reading over Mark Jones' excellent
> > writings, some of which seem to suggest that the 'law of value' was
> > still fully in operation in the USSR, and that it was impossible thus,
> > without greater socialist democracy at any rate, to properly control
> > the rate of exploitation of natural resources.
>The Soviet people had an alternative in the development approach
>represented by Peter Palchinsky, a civil engineer who joined the
>Communist Party shortly after the 1917 revolution. Palchinsky was
>enthusiastic about planning. He believed that the Soviet Union opened up
>possibilities for the planning of industry that were impossible under
>Tsarism. He thought that engineers could play a major role in the growth
>of socialism.

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