Re: [OPE] market - and other kinds of - socialism

From: Michael Webber <>
Date: Mon May 02 2011 - 05:17:35 EDT

jerry and alejandro:
to clarify the terms of this discussion, i quote wikipedia:

*Market socialism* refers to various economic systems where the means of
production <> are publicly
owned, managed and operated for a profit in a market economy. The profit
generated in a market socialist system would be used to directly remunerate
employees or go toward public
. <><>Theoretically,
the fundamental difference between a traditional socialist
economy<>and a market
socialist economy is the existence of a market for the means of
production and capital goods under market socialism.

Market socialism generally refers to three related but distinct economic

Early forms of market socialism consisted of proposals for cooperative
enterprises operating in a free-market economy, so that exploitation would
be eliminated and individuals would receive the full product of their
Early market socialism was expressed by Ricardian
mutualists <>,
anarchists <> and

The maturing of neoclassical economic theory led to various new proposals of
market socialism in the early twentieth century. The traditional
neoclassical market socialist proposals consisted of state-owned industries
and a central planning board (CPB) that sets prices to equal marginal
thereby achieving pareto

Market socialism has also been used to refer to an economic system that
utilizes a free price system for the allocation and distribution of all
resources, with public ownership being reserved to "strategic" sectors of
the economy. Within this model, the state would utilize market mechanisms to
direct economic activity in the same manner governments affect economic
decisions in capitalist economies, including the use of (external)
regulation over the otherwise autonomously-operating enterprises. This
allows for the public enterprises to function in a decentralized fashion.

now back to me: i take it that the discussion is really centering on the
third of these ideas. however, i just do not understand the use of the
noun, socialism, here. there is nothing socialist about china: the state is
operating as a capitalist. like any capitalist, it has various uses for the
surplus that its capitalist production generates: some is expended, some is
accumulated. and like any capitalist, it seeks to use (other arms of) the
state to advance its own interests: eg, infrastructure-building stimulus
packages. i know that the term 'market socialism' is still used by the
leadership, but that's placating the masses (especially those older folk who
thought that on balance mao was pretty good for ordinary people).


On 2 May 2011 17:52, GERALD LEVY <> wrote:

> > I any case, I would like to
> > deal with less purely ideological statements when I discuss with you.
> Alejandro:
> That's why I originally in this thread raised the subject in terms of
> economic history (including the experience of market socialism in
> the former Yugoslavia, China under Deng Xiaoping, Hungary
> under the NEM beginning in 1968, etc.). My point was simply that you
> should discuss apples for apples: i.e. if you wanted to reference
> the experience of centrally planned economies then you should also
> reference the experience of market socialism AND/OR if you wanted to talk
> about a different conception of market socialism than that historically
> experienced that you could compare that to OTHER conceptions of socialism
> which have not been tried (such as the C-C model).
> In solidarity, Jerry
> _______________________________________________
> ope mailing list

Michael Webber
Professorial Fellow
Department of Resource Management and Geography
The University of Melbourne
Mail address: 221 Bouverie Street, Carlton, VIC 3010
Phone: 0402 421 283

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Received on Mon May 2 05:18:36 2011

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