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Re: the Communist Manifesto: critique
by Boris Stremlin
17 March 2002 22:09 UTC
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On Sun, 17 Mar 2002, Paul Gomberg wrote:

> Boris Stremlin asked whether, in acommunist society, "would there be no
> mediation at all, since everyone would exist in immediate communion with
> everyone and everything?"
> If my sister's dog is ill and she calls me to ask whether I can watch her
> children while she takes the dog to the vet, we might say that my babysitting 
> an "unmediated" service, or perhaps one "mediated" by a lifelong relationship.
> Does anyone think that communism could be "unmediated" in this sense?
> I certainly don't. "Well, then, if not by money and not by family ties, then 
> what?" Communists have always seen political organization as the mediation 
> would serve the working class, specifically the formation of a political party
> by that part of the working class that is committed to the implementation of a
> communist vision of our future, that is, a party of communists. The task of
> communists is to provide organization at all levels of society, from the most
> local to a world-wide scale, that can secure production and distribution that
> serves the needs of workers.

So is it that the "needs of the workers" can never be mediated through a
quantitative relationship?  What happens if your sister's dog gets sick
more often than yours, or that her children need to be babysat more often?
What happens if you are babysitting for her more often than she does x for
you, and call her on the unequal character of the relationship?  Does she
then put you on trial for petty bourgeois individualism?

> Here, among philosophers at least, we commonly hear the phrase "Hayek has
> shown..." That is, there is widespread skepticism about whether such a planned
> and organized society could be tolerably efficient in allocation of productive
> resources. There is much here that, in my view, needs more discussion. Central
> issues are "efficient for what (needs or market demand)?" and "how can we
> mobilize and organize the the dispersed knowledge of the workers about their
> needs so as to organize production efficiently enough to meet our needs?"

I think the key issue in the critique of the society you propose is not so
much its lack of  efficiency as its intolerably absolutist character.

Boris Stremlin

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