Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Towards a New Socialism

The principal bases for a post-Soviet socialism must be radical democracy and efficient planning. The democratic element, it is now clear, is not a luxury, or something that can be postponed until conditions are especially favourable. Without democracy, as we have argued above, the leaders of a socialist society will be driven to coercion in order to ensure the production of a surplus product, and if coercion slackens the system will tend to stagnate. At the same time, the development of an efficient planning system will most likely be impossible in the absence of an open competition of ideas. [...] Under socialism, there can be no such separation of oppressive state from ‘free’ economy; and if criteria of ideological ‘correctness’ dominate in the promotion of managers and even in economic–theoretical debate, the long-run prospects for growth and efficiency are dim indeed.
W. Paul Cockshott and Allin Cottrell, Towards a New Socialism