[Marxism] RE: USSR, Democracy and the Environment

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun May 16 13:55:40 MDT 2004


Calvin Broadbent wrote:
> 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? 

This is a very complex question. I think it is difficult to extrapolate 
"the law of value" in the absense of a capitalist class. Despite all the 
attempts of people like Tony Cliff and Charles Bettelheim to explain the 
USSR as a class society, I am more convinced by Alec Nove and others who 
found the profit motive in short supply. Unless you have a market in 
labor and the threat of unemployment, it is very difficult to generate 
surplus value.

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