Monday, November 14, 2011

Some conclusions for a program towards Market Socialism

Hello reader:

I have some conclusions to make from my lecture of the articles about marksoc until this point. They are spearheaded by the quick changes that many developed nations are experiencing in 2011, from the fed up population of the United States and its Occupy Wall Street  movement (read this) to the crumbling of the monetary union in Europe. I based these ideas on this article by Schweickart, and added my own.

First: To produce a global change in the status quo, we need before to change the situation on our countries.

Second: Currently, under capitalist democracy in its variants, we need to create the institutions necessary for  the transition towards marksoc.  We cannot wait for an uprising or for the situation to become dire.  These institutions will become invaluable during or after the economic crash. 

Third (first in importance): We no longer work on a theoretical construct to prove a theoretical point, now we work towards a model for praxis, to show how we want the world to be.  This also means finding practical solutions for "small" real-world problems.  
The following example is not as trivial as it seems: there is a small bookstore shop.  The owner works all day, more than 60 hours per week in the shop, but wants some free time.  Hired employees require constant supervision, since their interest clash with those of the shop owner, and for a small business they are costly (wages and taxes).  How can this shop become a micro-cooperative without the original owner taking a big hit on his income? What strategy can we suggest so a partnership can be made, to have as a result two happy new cooperativists instead of an over-worked capitalist owner with one employee?  Find the answer to this example, and a big part of the issues regarding the adoption of marksoc by the general population will be solved.
Fourth: We will not permanently win hearts and minds with a shocking  revolution.  The economic violence against the majority, however grave, cannot be destroyed with physical violence.  If we are right, cooperative companies as a whole will supersede their capitalist counterparts because they are better, more efficient, more responsive to the demands of society.  If the game is rigged and tweaked, it means that not all the rules are against us.  We beat the current system with more democracy, not less.  In this way, change will become permanent, as "natural" as capitalism felt until now.
We still need to discuss the details.  As we saw in the last posts, some of the important issues to decide upon include:
  • the degree (or possibility) of control of investment by the State,
  • the degree (or possibility) on which the State can function as an employer of last resort,
  • surprisingly, for some authors such as Schweickart we need to include in the system the possibility of allowing small and even grand capitalists to continue developing companies.
I will try to speed-up my reviews of articles about marksoc, and you reader will need to ask me questions and posit answers to make me run faster towards the objective.  We need to start somewhere.
SCHWEICKART, David (2006):  "Economic Democracy: A Worthy Socialism that Would Work", Presentation at the Book Launching of "Derecho a Decidir: Propuestas para el socialismo del siglo XXI", ed. Joaquin Arriola.

For the accumulated Bibliography and the Glossary please click here


  1. You said:
    "We will not permanently win hearts and minds with a shocking revolution... economic violence against the majority cannot be destroyed with physical violence. If we are right, cooperative companies... will supersede their capitalist counterparts because they are better, more efficient, more responsive to the demands of society. If the game is rigged and tweaked, it [does not?] mean that all the rules are against us."

    Now why can't everyone be this sensible? I am a more conservative type than you are. But what you stated above is so practical, calm and rational that I would certainly be willing to listen with an open mind and heart. Because ultimately, the economic theory and ideology is less important than realism, compassion and fairness.

    I found my way here after reading your comment on the student walkout at Harvard article. Or article follow-on. Wasn't that something?

    I didn't read all of this post, as the economics was too dense for my taste. I like math and probability ;#) But I know where it belongs! Most naturally in the physical sciences, biology, computing, industry. Not so much in the field of economics!

  2. Thanks for your comment Ellie!

    Mathematics are over-used in Economics, especially in formalizations of neoclassical theory. It can be an useful (and of course powerful) tool, but it is often utilized as a crutch instead of theory with real-life applications.

    The article Ellie was talking about is this:

    Some days ago a group of Harvard students walked out of a masterclass given by Greg Mankiw, author of a famous reductionist manual on Economics utilized in many important universities around the world (such as Tel Aviv University). The article is a defense of Mankiw and his course, my post was not.

    For an alternative view about Mankiw, please read the following informative posts: