Since the fall from power of the ruling parties in Eastern Europe during the amazing events of autumn 1989, most commentators in the West and the East have proclaimed the death of communism. If communism is defined as consisting of the dictatorship of a single party, the administrative and central allocation of most resources and commodities, and the ownership of all firms by the state, then I agree with the diagnosis. The inference that these commentators implicitly make is that socialism, too, is a dead letter. I will argue here for the feasibility of market socialism, a politicoeconomic system in which firms are publicly owned, the state has considerable control of the “commanding heights” of the economy, and
there is democratic control over society’s use of its economic surplus.
The failed “communist” experiment was characterized by the following three features:...
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