File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1997/97-03-16.132, message 84

Date: Tue, 11 Mar 1997 18:58:11 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: M-I: Freedom, Humanism and Market Socialism 

> On Tue, 11 Mar 1997, Rob Schaap wrote:
> > While it offers no guarantee, the only way to avoid a bureaucratic hump of
> > exploiters is market socialism.  I also remain to be convinced that market
> > socialism is not a superior mode in terms of efficiencies that might serve
> > to lessen necessary labour.
 	Indeed market socialism is able to lessen necessary labor time. Since
workers manage their own cooperatives they can choose what to produce, how
much to produce of it, and how to produce it. Therefore, since workers can
choose to how-to, they can eliminate necessary labor time by: 

1) Choosing, as a group or individuals, to work less hours and therefore
   receive less income, but more leisure time. 

2) Mechanizing production to cut necessary labor time. 

	Option (1) is available to very few workers in capitalism. Most
enter into wage relationships with the understanding that they will work
a "standard" working week, that is a week filled with lots of
surplus-producing labor time. The only people who are generally free to do
this sort of thing are capitalists, and most of them can earn money
through interest and dividends without even working, even as they are

	Option (2) is not available under capitalism either. If new
innovations come along which can lessen the number of hours needed to
produce a product the capitalist purchases the innovation, and fires the
workers (variable capital) whose job the machinery-innovation (constant
capital) will take the place of. A market socialist enterprise, one in
which the workers-revenue receivers manage, can use still implement the
innovation into production, but it can use the innovation to reorganize
production so that each worker can work less hours, and still collect
income equal to the period preceding the implementation of constant
 	Option (2) frequently brings the objection that market socialist
enterprises will behave to maximize revenue per person. Scott Arnold
argues this in his new book on market socialism. He argues that they will
implement the invention, and then vote democratically to fire those whom
the innovation has taken the place of. Schweickart, Vanek, and others have
valid objections to this. They can be summarized like so: 
1) Workers will have a motivation to protect their lots by voting initially
to setup a constitutional prohibition (either nationwide or within
their enterprise) against that sort of action within their enterprises.
This seems logical enough to me, though I have'nt worked out any kind of
serious game theory analysis. Perhaps Barkley would like to cover this
2) Workers may naturally desire to work less hours given constant pay, and
therefore may be motivated to keep the amount of variable capital (labor)
at a stable level. 

	BTW, if you have'nt read Schweickart, you must. 

Columbus, Ohio

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