[OPE] market socialism

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@tiscali.nl)
Date: Sat Jul 05 2008 - 13:44:50 EDT

What surprises me is the rather schematic nature of this discussion. As is known, Marx intended to write a book about the labour market ("the various forms of wage labour") but he never did. This omission is rather crucial, given the importance of the labour market in allocating wealth. Point is, it is not feasible for "payment according to work done" to be the only allocative criterion, because (among other things):

1) In industrialised societies, about half or more of the population is not in paid employment, for whatever reason, at any time (unemployed, engaged in voluntary work, institutionalised, sick, disabled, retired, in school, too young, etc.).
2) It is not possible to value and pay all work done according to uniform criteria, without this removing material incentives which are necessary for promotion on a fair basis, encourage skill acquisition, and to shift labour from where it is not needed, to where it is needed.
3) In such a scheme, we effectively have one class of people who stipulates what the work of others is worth, and they are likely to define it according to self-interest. 

A more rational approach is to guarantee a minimum basic income for all citizens, and specify a minimum and maximum personal income receipt from all sources. In fact, in a country like The Netherlands a basic income already exists, insofar as the constitution legally obliges the state to support citizens financially if they are unable to do paid work for a living, and lack alternative means of support (equal to a minimum dole payment; citizens of working age are still required to apply for jobs), and there are also minimum wage standards. 

The question which neoliberal market theorists ought to answer is why, if a plentiful supply of cheap credit exists to fund business, this does not result in a proportional growth of productive, jobcreating investment, and a growth of new entrepreneurs and business starts which increase net employment significantly. 


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