Rob huffs and puffs a bit:

>C'mon Hugh!
>
>I argue that a socialist economy might need the market mechanism (for I can
>see nothing else that would do the particular job of producing and
>distributing use values) and you tell me there's going to be abundance, that
>"there is      *no* scarcity", that "Market socialism is no socialism. If
>you have the power to coerce the market to behave in a socially responsible
>way, then you have the power to dump the bourgeoisie and its relations of
>production, and you don't need half-measures," and that "Market socialism is
>a cowardly utopian cop-out."


You were the one saying that there's plenty to go round as of right now,
the only problem is the political one of getting it distributed right. I
just agreed. I didn't argue there was "abundance", I argued (as you did)
that there was "no scarcity" -- that's not the same.

And the question of the power needed to introduce any form of "market
socialism" that would make any sense is the most important issue, and one
on which we seem to agree, whatever the caveats on your part. The cop-out
for me is to speak of "market socialism" without a change of class
ownership in other words without a revolution in political and property
relations.


>And now you seem to be saying you always agreed with me on substance,

According to your clarifications, it seemed that way.

>but
>that the mere reliance upon the market mechanism for the little matter of
>allocating use values does not constitute 'market socialism'!

I think we probably disagree on what constitutes *reliance*, but this
hasn't come out too clearly in the exchange. The allocation of use values
under proto-socialism would be primarily by plan, especially where labour
input is concerned, whereas the adjustment of the plan would be carried out
with the help of feedback mechanisms such as market response and the other
organizational responses I detailed. The plan would take consumer needs etc
as ascertained by various conscious and unconscious mechanisms of
monitoring these, including the market, into consideration in the first
place. But the main priorities would be set by political decisions.

>That's a
>pretty dry old argument about semantics, I reckon, and I'm too busy a boy.

I still don't think you've defined the relationship of what you call market
socialism sufficiently clearly in relation to the state needed for it to
operate or the kind of regime under which it would provide optimal
development. And those factors are central political issues, not mere
semantics.

>I've criticised everything from the April Theses to the NEP on this very
>list.  Ask Chas'n'Dave!  They went to no small effort in trying to put me
>back on the straight'n'narrer on this stuff.  Good on 'em, too.  But it
>didn't take.

So?

>>"A role to play in regulating some aspects etc" sounds fine, but does it
>>constitute Market Socialism?? What about all the Bruno Bauers and
>>Austro-Marxists etc with their virulent hatred of Bolshevism -- how would
>>their kind of Market Socialism ever bring about the necessary transfer of
>>ownership to the organized working class?
>
>It's not theirs I was suggesting.

That's clear enough!


And after all the huffing and puffing comes the good bit:

>Not that I'm a Bolshevik.  But I do hold
>we'd need something of the magnitude of a revolution to attain market
>socialism, yeah.

So if you like the idea of market socialism, you like the idea of the
revolution needed to bring it into being, and the only question left is how
to promote such a revolution.

>That's my lot, I'm afraid.  I've a lecture to write and a bed to crawl into
>- in that order, alas.

Sweet dreams!

Hugh






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