The collapse of communist regimes in Eastern Europe reopens the question whether there is any form of socialism that might be adopted, with popular support, in the advanced societies. The experience of communism sug- gests, fairly unequivocally, that such a system must rely mainly on market mechanisms. Mikhail Gorbachev has gone on record as saying that markets and capitalism are not to be confused, that one predates the other by many millennia and, by implication, may postdate it too. But proposals for a socialist market economy, aiming to combine the efficiency advantages of markets with the humane and egalitarian goals of socialism, still meet with fierce resistance on both sides. Defenders of orthodox capitalism claim that you cannot reap the economic benefits of markets without private property in the means of production, whereas some socialists continue to argue that market socialism represents a capitulation to the enemy. My main purpose here is to show that market socialism remains true to basic socialist aims, but I shall also try to dispel some frequently expressed doubts about its practical viability.
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