Volume 46, Issue 1/2, 2014/2015
Philip J. Kain
Alienation and Market Socialism
Comments on Schweickart's "Marx's Democratic Critique of Capitalism and Its Implications for a Viable Socialism"
Schweickart and I both discuss market socialism. Neither of us accepts the traditional Marxist view that market economies necessarily produce contradictions that drive them toward collapse. Both of us think the socialist experiments of the twentieth century show that markets cannot successfully be eliminated. Thus, for market socialism, we keep a market and we work to prevent it from producing contradictions, alienation, and collapse. One question that arises here concerns the role of labor unions. Should they (like Hegelian corporations) play a major role in market socialism, or are there respects in which they would obstruct it? There is another important issue that Schweickart should discuss. Market socialism, given its commitment to a market, must face the issue of market generated alienation or fetishism. Can market socialism avoid such problems? And if so how?