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Towards a New Socialism

Towards a New Socialism

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Published by infopool
Towards a New Socialism by W. Paul Cockshott and Allin F. Cottrell

This book (first published in 1993 by Spokesman, Nottingham, England) is our attempt to answer the idea that socialism is dead and buried after the demise of the Soviet Union.

The core of the book consists of a series of chapters spelling out what we believe would be efficient and democratic methods for planning a complex economy. We also examine issues of inequality and its elimination, systems of payment for labour, a democratic political constitution for a socialist commonwealth, the commune as a set of arrangements for living, and property relations under socialism.

The book "Towards a New Socialism" (TNS) is copyright (c) 1993 W. Paul Cockshott and Allin Cottrell. The copyright holders grant you permission to copy and redistribute the English-language text of TNS as you wish -- in printed, electronic or any other form -- on the following conditions: (a) you acknowledge the authorship of Cockshott and Cottrell; and (b) if you make modifications, you distinguish clearly between the text as written by the original authors and your own modifications. Please note that this permission may not apply to translations of TNS into other languages. That is, the publishers of translations of TNS may assert exclusive rights to their translation.
Towards a New Socialism by W. Paul Cockshott and Allin F. Cottrell

This book (first published in 1993 by Spokesman, Nottingham, England) is our attempt to answer the idea that socialism is dead and buried after the demise of the Soviet Union.

The core of the book consists of a series of chapters spelling out what we believe would be efficient and democratic methods for planning a complex economy. We also examine issues of inequality and its elimination, systems of payment for labour, a democratic political constitution for a socialist commonwealth, the commune as a set of arrangements for living, and property relations under socialism.

The book "Towards a New Socialism" (TNS) is copyright (c) 1993 W. Paul Cockshott and Allin Cottrell. The copyright holders grant you permission to copy and redistribute the English-language text of TNS as you wish -- in printed, electronic or any other form -- on the following conditions: (a) you acknowledge the authorship of Cockshott and Cottrell; and (b) if you make modifications, you distinguish clearly between the text as written by the original authors and your own modifications. Please note that this permission may not apply to translations of TNS into other languages. That is, the publishers of translations of TNS may assert exclusive rights to their translation.

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Published by: infopool on Oct 13, 2008
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10/15/2011

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By the Soviet model we mean the system of property that obtained between
the introduction of central planning in 1928–31 and the breakup of the Soviet
Union in 1991. This system is shown in Table 14.3.

What can be owned?

175

Table 14.3: Property rights in the Soviet system

owner

State Individuals Enterprises Farms

owned

Enterprises

1

0

0

0

Land

1

9

1

1

Machinery

5

0

1

3

Labour

5

3

5

1

Public goodsa

1

0

1

1

Money

2

10

2

2

Buildings

7

15

1

7

a

Mineral rights, information, the electromagnetic spectrum, weapons.

If we compare this to what exists in a capitalist country like Britain the
most striking thing is how property relations are much ‘weaker’. There are few
things over which bourgeois rights are exercised: money, personal possessions
and houses are the only things that can be used, bought, sold and inherited. In
contrast there are a great many weak links. Collective farms have use of land
but may not buy or sell it since the notional owner of the land is the state. In
terms of bourgeois rights the state ownership of the land is itself a very restricted
relation since the state cannot buy or sell land. To whom could it sell?
Similarly, industrial machinery is used by the units of production but in the
classic Soviet model they did not have full property rights over this machinery.
In Stalin’s day the machines used by farms were notionally owned by the state
and kept in state-run Machine Tractor Stations; under Khrushchev the farms
got the right to buy equipment from the state. State enterprises are at the
disposition of the state, but again the state can not buy or sell these enterprises,
so in bourgeois terms its ownership rights are very restricted. The enterprises
have the use of their means of production and have to account for it, that is to
say they are charged by the state for means of production received. Despite this
we cannot say that they had bourgeois right over industrial equipment since
it was allocated to them by the state according to a national plan. If they
produced means of production they could sell them, but again only to the state.
There were sharp restrictions on the purchase of labour power. Only the state
and state enterprises could do this, and they were not allowed to resell it, unlike
a capitalist company which can hire out the labour time of its employees. The
purchase of labour time by private individuals was strictly prohibited.

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