R48G: the issue of markets, planning and a socialist starting point

Source: Ernest Mandel: In Defence of Socialist Planning (September 1986)

We linked to this already today and it is invaluable to have a critique by someone like Mandel of the trend toward ‘market socialism’ that arose in the wake of the ‘calculation debate’ ignited by Von Mises and which was critiqued by a whole series of socialist counterarguments in what seems in retrospect something of a stalemate. A good example of the genre is:
The Economics of Feasible Socialism Alec Nove
http://digamo.free.fr/nove91.pdf
which Mandel discusses at length.
A useful summary is Marx to Mise by Steele, a book that seems to be overwhelmed by the question and not quite able to counter the Misean legacy.
https://www.amazon.com/Marx-Mises-Capitalist-Challenge-Calculation-ebook/dp/B00GW5KSEA/ref=sr_1_1?crid=16F17TWS0W6E3&keywords=from+marx+to+mises&qid=1560349352&s=books&sprefix=from+Marx+to+%2Cinstant-video%2C130&sr=1-1

It is interesting that Mandel attempts to argue with Nove, not Mises, et al.
But I have to wonder if anyone has arrived at answers here but overall the capitalists claim to have won the argument and we have lived in neoliberal land since the time of Hayek et al, who spring directly form the Misean attack, which was a timely (1921) counterattack in the context of the Russian revolution which coincided with this introduction of the whole, partly sophistical but also in part cogent, Misean argument about markets. Mandel’s excellent critique of the socialist responses to Mises, viz. market socialism. Given the nature of Mises’ prediction and the outcome of bolshevik economic madness/idiocy, it is not surprising that socialists have been on the defensive, and almost nettled by the play of sophistries. That neo-classical economic theory deserves an equal share of critique, if not ridicule, but clarity tends to be lost in the confusion of debate (mastery of the field with its mathematical confusions is almost impossible using the texts of the subject, cf. e.g. Krugman/Wells and their college textbook(s) ). That equilibrium theory was in part the invention of socialists is a further irony. It is fair to say that all parties are confused to some degree. But a defense of planning by Mandel is entirely apt in the seeming partial rout that produced so many leftist students of market socialism.
The scale of the problem is mind-numbing:
Consider:

How many small businesses are there?In 2010 there were 27.9 million small businesses, and 18,500 firms with 500 employees or more. Over three-quarters of small businesses were nonemploy-ers; this number has trended up over the past decade, while employers have been relatively flat (figure 1).
https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/FAQ_Sept_2012.pdf

To bring planning to this is an olympian task.
A pioneer in the computational economics sphere is Cockshott’s classic:
Toward a New Socialism

Our own view is a mixture of paired opposites: our ecological socialist ‘Democratic Market Neo-communism’. This perspective says that we must do four or more things at once:
resolve the political question, resolve the market/planning question and resolve the nature of expropriation, demanded from the revolutionary (or even electoral) left: the creation of a Commons, which is different from state capitalism.
Our model does not fully resolve the economic question but creates a mixture of both planning and market sectors that can construct a new form of communist system where markets coexist with planning, but with post-capitalist corporations that license resources from the Commons. Properly realized such a mixed system has a larger potential than one pole of the dilemma. We can see a broad field of planned economics, and a parallel field of modified market entities. And a possible third ‘anarchist sector’ below an indifference threshold allowing small scale entities free to do as they please. The mixed system as noted is like a reserve genome of social dna and moves into the future but still preserves its historical forms (in the third sector). This system is different from market socialism.
It is a seemingly contradictory/dialectical combination of opposites that must mediate themselves with checks and balances, and experimental trials of potential solutions. Noone has that solution yet.
The nature of an international remains as a further challenge where this DMNC model attempts first a ‘socialism’ in one country and doesn’t as such or at first attempt the immense problem of global system which would immediately become a reverse socialist imperialism (??).
It is hard to know exactly how this would play out but we must suspect that its strong control mixed with flexibility could stage the kinds of experiments that would evolve to a solution the problem that has bedeviled the left from the time of Marx. Failure to define some kind of workable system has put the socialist left into the limbo it finds itself in.
But the situation is rapidly changing: the claimed victory, in part sophistical, of the Misean wing and the neo-liberals is proving pyrrhic: we now face the reality even if we can’t solve the problem of socialist economics we will have to anyway: the capitalist system is producing devastation and will end by destroying a planet. And the further peculiar situation has arise of rightist/fascist/ irrationalism that simply denies the issue of climate calamity on its way: the ideological hold of capitalist ideology is proving to be a form of near psychosis. So we have to trot out the whole flea market of socialist ‘told you so’ but still clunky economic ‘solutions’ to postcapitalist inevitability.

The ecological DMNC is designed to be able to remorph a liberal system into a (neo-) communist (we can hardly use old terminology of Chinese, North Korean, etc, monstrosities monopolize the terms) one and then proceed with enough probable viability to start to allow thence experimental upgrades, a sort of permanent revolution. It is not simple matter to deal with such complexity even if we begin to suspect that the planning option has some resolution, viz. technological, computational, and soon AI angles of attack.

Our solution with three sectors (and a double political system with both democracy and strong presidential authority, the latter however a revolutionary party to guard the Commons,but few other powers) (cf our various manifestos) allows both centralization and distributed powers of economic control and let go, and while it remorphs a liberal system is also open to many of the goals of classic left discourse, e.g. worker cooperatives, etc… But in a Commons worker cooperatives can control but not own the resources they use, etc…
This kind of system can start immediately, today/tomorrow and then inch its way forward.
It has strong control and an anarchic side, planning and a new kind of market, ecological imperatives and associated ecological courts and law and many possible versions of ’emergency mode’ alternates. It must satisfy the demand for a robust economic populism with economic rights to employment, health care, housing, etc…
Noone has found a solution to the economic question but this DMNC can with confidence stage a beginning evolution that is functional day one toward a more sophistical outcome.
Noone has won the arguments here and we can’t expect to be able to fully resolve but we do have a plan/procedure and revolutionary (or evolutionary) project to set in motion, one that can reconcile many opposites in a pressure cooker of social equalization moving from the relative starting point of mixed opposites…

DMNC and nationalization: how about expropriation?

Our previous post cites Sanders’ older views on nationalization. The idea remains of interest and could be revived…

Better yet our DMNC, or ‘democratic market neo-communism’, takes up the slack in the idea and takes it beyond ‘state control’ to ….state control of another kind. Our model contains a basic Commons which is not as such open to ‘state’ control in the usual sense: it is something that pertains/belongs to everyone in the context of a diverse state structure consisting of a presidency that guards that Commons and neo-communist constitution, a parliament/congress, ecological and economic courts, a planned/market set of sectors (and another third low level sector, check out our manifestoes). If we are going to nationalize anything we should go the whole way and nationalize/communalize everything large scale, that is expropriate the full range of capital, leaving a threshold lower level to its own devices. We should be clear here that nationalization would lead to ‘state capitalism’ and that has a complex and debatable history. We must create a new set of checks and balances in the context of such ‘national capitalism’ and we call that the Commons. https://www.dropbox.com/home/Public?preview=Two+Manifestos+version+2.pdf

Nonetheless, the nationalization concept/nexus shows us that it is in principle possible to move via evolutionary politics toward our DMNC, although that at first seems unlikely. But the era of total chaos is almost here and we can see that evolutionary/revolutionary paths could merge as one.

the working class was shafted by the bolsheviks…try something else…//Workers’ democracy in the Russian Revolution …and other bullshit…

We have repeatedly critiqued marxism.com for its knee jerk bolshevism even as we take up its useful articles, softball pitches for our swing. Whatever we say about the russian revolution the fact remains it was a gross failure and if we cite its legacy in such glowing terms the whole chance of convincing a skeptical public will be lost. To say that it was this was the first time the working class took power is nonsense but if it is true we should be wary of working class revolutions. The working class was eliminated swiftly and lost the right even to form unions. Continue reading “the working class was shafted by the bolsheviks…try something else…//Workers’ democracy in the Russian Revolution …and other bullshit…”

If the US will undermine Venezuelan sovereignty then we have grounds to undermine the sovereignty of the US, in any case an illegal government of criminals and imperialists violating international law…revolution now…!

We have come to a strange and remarkable moment: the undermining of the US government in the process of fascist attempts to undermine the sovereignty of another nation: Venezuela, compelling an ironic logic. If the US can’t respect the legal government of Venezuela, why should we respect the ‘legal’ government of the US. And the US is less ‘legal’ than Venezuela, ironically. Its crimes a make for a staggering list. Such a criminal rogue state is not ‘legal’ in any case under international law, or the canon of the Republic, ‘when in the course…’. <!–more–> If the US wishes to foment a coup in Venezuela then we should foment a coup in the US: a socialist regime change that can initiate a revolutionary passage to a new form of government. If the American Rebs rebelled against British imperialism we have the precedent to rebel against Yankee imperialism. It is true that the power of the US is overwhelming, but the jackals of the dot.gov have thrown away the principle of their legitimacy, their self-respect, their honesty, their legal behaviourism, their sense of justice, and the rule of law. Without those, and there is more for that list, their days are numbered. But we must proceed with at least the minimal implementation and declaration of the illegality and moral oblivion of the American rogue state. The US system is illegitimate and the grounds for its replacement will by diligent communication become common knowledge. Such knowledge will slowly overwhelm the the greatest power and will also soon enter the military ranks as knowledge of the facts of an army of fascist aims.
Here we come to the crisis of the left that is unready for any such gesture or task. We have many times critiqued marxism here and suggested that a completely revamped version such as our democratic market neo-communism can lead a revolution beyond the stale legacy of marxist bolshevism, doomed to fail, to a simple direct and practical form of liberal neo-socialism that can satisfy the american situation with enthusiastic participation.
In any case we confront the american monstrosity confessing to its fascism, illegality, rogue state policy and several generations of criminal violation of national and international law. We have ample ground for regime change.
And let us not forget the the hard evidence that this rogue state murdered three thousand of its citizens in a false flag conspiracy: the 9/11 inside job…
<blockquote>Even though the ongoing imperialist coup in Venezuela has not yet succeeded, the impression one gets is that there is an inexorable march forward in its implementation, which is pushed mainly from forces abroad rather than from within Venezuela itself. The next step in the plan is the use of “humanitarian aid” as a provocation on the border with Colombia.</blockquote>
Source: <a href=”https://www.marxist.com/chavistas-march-against-imperialism-what-is-the-next-step-in-trump-s-coup.htm”>Chavistas march against imperialism: what is the next step in Trump’s coup?</a>

Degrowth and our DMNC

https://www.jasonhickel.org/blog/2019/1/14/inequality-and-the-ecological-transition

We quoted  below some of the material on degrowth from the site at the link.

We should note how easily this thinking could be adapted to our ‘democratic market neo-communism’. The latter was an attempt to consider a functional model of politics and economy in and of itself, but clearly both ecological socialism and degrowth are key issues that in practice would fit nicely. In fact our DMNC just might make degrowth a viable option.

Two Manifestos including  our model of ‘democratic market neo-communism Continue reading “Degrowth and our DMNC”

 From working class ideology to the perspective of the Universal Class.

Source: Were marx’s theories to blame?…//Why Did Socialism Fail? – 1848: The End(s) of History

We have commented already today on this essay but might continue with a discussion of the question of creating working class democracies and its failures.
Continue reading ” From working class ideology to the perspective of the Universal Class.”

The lost opportunity of the era of bolshevism and its stupidities

https://redfortyeight.com/?s=democratic+market+neo-communism

The fallacies of marxism are a great tragedy in world history.  The Russian revolution created a tremendous opportunity which was squandered completely via the idiocy of Lenin/Stalin, but more the confusion created by marxist theories. Continue reading “The lost opportunity of the era of bolshevism and its stupidities”