From Marx to the Market: Socialism in Search of an Economic System

From Marx to the Market: Socialism in Search of an Economic System

Wlodzimierz Brus

Language: English

Pages: 192

ISBN: 0198283997

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Distinguished economists Brus and Laski--who were involved with the Planning Office of the Polish economy in the 1950s and 1960s--here develop a theoretical system of economic management which avoids the failings of both market capitalism and central planning. This book examines Marxists claim to socialism's economic rationality and studies the application of the concept in the "real socialism" of Communist party orthodoxy as well as in the tentative attempts at "market socialism", particularly in Hungary and Yugoslavia. The analysis focuses on general features of the evolution of the socialist economic system, but national experiences are used to point out the advances that have been made and the flaws in the theoretical models that have been developed.

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which to some extent must have been dictated by military consideration in accordance with the then prevailing doctrine. This most concise summary fits best the policies actually pursued up to the mid 19503, or the late 19505 as far as China is concerned. The changes that occurred subsequently were numerous and multidirectional, but did not amount to a coherent new strategy. Some of them will be discussed later in connection with systemic reforms, but from the point of view of the problems

to the independent, daring, and imaginative. To sum up, it seems that the thesis of the twin role of the command system—as an instrument both of the Soviet-type modernization strategy and of its inbred conservatism—can be upheld. It should also be apparent from our discussion that we do not share the view of the contrasting time-specific valuation of the command system—as fully fitting the period of'extensive growth', and only later disclosing its weaknesses. In our opinion this view is not

advantages of extending intrafactory planning—with welldefined goals and careful deployment of means—to the macroeconomic sphere appealed so strongly to Marx and his followers: central The Claim to Economic Rationality 9 planning was to secure steady movement of the economy along an equilibrium path, identified ex ante at both the output and the input ends, allowing each link in the social division of labour to fall directly into its proper place. The claim of central planning to be capable

the other hand, there have been plenty of attempts to reconcile the main body of the theory with this deflection from the predicted line of the dialectical interaction between the development of productive forces and production relations. In the aftermath of World War I, and perhaps during the interwar period as a whole, the arguments of this strand might look as not entirely deprived of plausibility. The less committed argued simply that the incongruity of the victory of the revolution in

socialism (ch. 5). M. S. Gorbachev, 'Speech to the 4th All-Union Congress of the Kolkhoz members', Pravda 24 March 1988. The writings of Tibor Liska are not well known in the West, and in Hungary itself only the rather secondary or preliminary ones have been published. His apparently main exposition of'entrepreneurial socialism', a book entitled Econostal, was circulated in mimeographed form. The most comprehensive presentation of Liska's ideas known to us is an article by J. Barsony, 'Tibor

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