[Marxism] Mixed economies

Haines Brown brownh at hartford-hwp.com
Sun Dec 24 02:04:03 MST 2006

> John Rosso wrote:
> >Does Socialism have a future?
> >
> >Would someone please tell me why "democratic socialism" of a mixed
> >economy in which governments own and operate the vital needs of
> >society for the public good while allowing the private sector to
> >flourish but with regulations and enforcement to ensure this sector
> >operates within the public good, is never, or almost never
> >considered?

John, let me add to what others are saying that traditional Marxism
seeks to understand the dynamics of capitalism in systemic terms, in
terms of objective economic forces (such as the self-expansion of
capital) rather than in terms of subjective forces (such as policies
intended to restrain those forces).

The inference seems to be that the capitalist economy can be
constrained only to a limited degree, only so long as its
contradictions are not too deep, or only locally thanks to deepening
contradictions elsewhere. From a Marxist viewpoint, it is ultimately a
hopeless dream to civilize capitalism, although there may be good
reason to adopt such policies ad hoc.

I suppose, then, that a social democratic policy is a) just part of
the transition to communism, b) an effort to make the best of a bad
situation as long as possible, or c) intended to be a reform of
capitalism rather than a working-class or Marxist agenda.

As a philosophical aside, let me add that the idea of there being an
"economic system" was something Marxism inherited from classic
political economy. It's aim was not a reductionism, but to reveal the
economic forces at work in the system. Because it was an idealization
of the economic system, it was never expected that the real world
would exactly conform to the theory. That is, it was not intended to
be a predictive science, but an abductive science in that it inferred
from economic outcomes the kinds of forces at work needed to produce

       Haines Brown, KB1GRM
   	 Dialectical Materialist        

More information about the Marxism mailing list