Thursday, November 10, 2022

 A good question, Maicol David Lynch. And, an important one for socialists, especially Marxists.  However, the Gramscian "specific conditions" obtaining for a particular socialist government suggest there may be more than one answer to your question.

It seems to me there are a number of variables to think about in finding a "model" for socialist leadership. This is my understanding:

Variable 1: What is socialism?

There is an economic, and political answer. 

For both Marxist and non-Marxist theories of socialism, the state -- or some non-profit oriented proxy, supplants private enterprise in degrees and proportion based on (at least) these assumptions:

a) that abundant resources, and abundant production and financing capacities of industry make it possible to reduce the "prices" of the "means of life" toward zero, where little or no profit, no retained earnings, no money is required. If there are costs they are born by general taxation.
 b) The "means of life" become public goods, meaning they neither exclude shared use nor have any rival for universal, "free" provision of the good. The ratio of public to private goods is a good measure of the degree of economic socialization.
c) The "means of life" becomes increasingly expensive as both physical and social reproduction of human societies requires a rise in human capital -- the knowledge and capabilities to be fully productive in advanced society. One can thus expect "abundance" to spread gradually, perhaps never fully satisfied. Investments in education and training must be accompanied by cultural revolutions in work and leisure life that also are expensive, controversial and disruptive under the best of circumstances,  and inevitably contrary to many 'traditions' as past gender, family, age, nationality, racial and ethnic roles are challenged. 


The point is: progress toward "abundance" will be gradual, and measured, no matter how revolutionary the changes in political or state leadership may be. Progress in economic relations requires careful planning and development. Shifts can take decades to become pervasive in an economy even when they are fast moving. (Consider the use and regulation of cell phones combined with the Internet) Many outcomes are impossible to predict in advance. All investments in the future have RISKS of failure. 


Of all early expressions of socialism, only Marx's has stood the test of history. The countries that call themselves socialists are all strongly influenced by, and contributed extensions and expansions of Marx's key concepts. Among the key conc

**For modern non-Marxists, "socialism", or its real life expressions -- "social democracy" and "democratic socialism" -- is pretty much summed up as an effort to perfect the democratic values promised in most, not all, bourgeois revolutions, from the American revolution forward.

The democratic socialist aspiration for "a more perfect union" struggles constantly against the inequities of developing capitalist relations, and strives to offset or compensate or restrain destructive social and political  tendencies arising from market anarchy.

But it does not reject "market" relations, as in Utopian or Anarchist conceptions, like Robert Owen 19th American experiment. Given the vast wealth being socially created by capitalism,  such "rejection" was entirely Ideal -- as contrasted with Marx.

In earlier times most "social democratic" formations in Europe were Marxist in one form or another. Some saw Marx's effort to be "scientific" about socialism as meaning a natural, more or less smooth, evolution toward perfection requiring no extraordinary personal subjective effort.

The history of socialism as a political trend since Marx and Engels wrote the Communist Manifesto has often been consumed with debates over which approach to socialism was Utopian, and which was "scientific".

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