[Marxism] Capitalism and the state

Philip Ferguson philipferguson8 at gmail.com
Mon Jan 5 18:33:43 MST 2015

On the New Zealand left, one of the most misunderstood questions is that of
the state.  One reason for this is that the state in this country has
played a particularly instrumental role in the creating and cohering of
society, frequently stepping in to do things capitalism simply could not,
like constructing much the infrastructure of the economy – road, rail,
bridges, dams, telecommunications, for instance.  The state was also the
necessary instrument through which the education and health of each new
generations of workers could be guaranteed – markets couldn’t do this
either.  The third role played by the state was in guaranteeing cheap
inputs for industry – so coal and other primary products were often
extracted through being owned by the state and operated by government

The ‘mixed economy’ model confused many on the left about a middle way
between the rampant capitalism they associated with the United States and
the state totalitarianism they associated with the Soviet bloc.  The ‘mixed
economy’ model, particularly when administered by a Labour government, was
indeed viewed as a kind of ‘New Zealand socialism’.
Thus the *capitalist* state in New Zealand was seen simply as *the state*.
On the left, people talked about “the state” far more than “the capitalist
state”.  Since state ownership was associated with socialism, the state was
simply not seen as. . . .   full at:


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