(OPE-L) Re: Market socialism

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Thu Jul 29 2004 - 15:58:33 EDT

Short comment: Stalin, at least during the industrialization debate,
when he was aligned with Bukharin in the Right Opposition, also
accepted the proposition that the continuation of the market was
compatible with 'socialism'   or what was then referred to as the
transitional period.  A relevant issue under debate at the time
was whether the market in Soviet society would be a short-term concession
as it was conceived by Lenin as part of the NEP (he, along with most
of the Bolshevik leadership viewed the NEP and the 'return to the market'
as a _temporary_ retreat from the goals of War Communism) or
whether the market would be extended indefinately into the future within
Soviet society as the platform of the Right Opposition, enunciated by
Bukharin, seemed to suggest./ In solidartity, Jerry (arrived in
Gloucester from Isle of Shoals today.)

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Market socialism
From:    "Jurriaan Bendien" <andromeda246@hetnet.nl>
Date:    Tue, July 27, 2004 6:05 am

Paul wrote:

It is clear that Soviet authors like Lenin, Trotsky, Bukharin and Stalin
all saw some form of continuation of the market as being compatible with
socialism. In this they continued the doctrines of their mentor Kautsky.
But the effect of this was to project communism to a never-nervier land, a
receding mirage of material plenty, obscuring the question of the social
relations necessary for communist economic forms to arise.

That's not true in the case of Stalin, who declared in the mid-1930s that
socialism had been achieved, and therefore that the transition to
communism had effectively begun. I think you are correct that the concept
of socialism which the Russian revolutionaries had, was based on "second
international Marxism" (state ownership of the means of production), but
the substantive issue is that in socialist thought the relationship of
planning, markets, ownership rights and democracy was not theorised
adequately. The most pernicious myths are that there there exists
something like "the market", although there are many different types of
(possible) markets, and that there exists only one kind of socialism,
although there are many different kinds of (possible) socialisms, as Marx
himself knew very well (cf. Hal Draper, Karl Marx's Theory of Revolution:
Vol 4: The Critique of Other Socialisms). In his book Political Economy of
Socialism, Makoto Itoh ably discusses this topic, although he more or less
ignores the Western socialist literature on democracy and bureaucracy.


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