This paper walks through the various features of these reforms and problems that resulted from the market socialist experiment of Yugoslavia, as well as a comparison of performance of the system after. The paper traces the political causes and rise of the workers’ self-management system in Yugoslavia, as well as the reforms by which it was instituted between 1950 and 1960, and examines the country’s evolution toward market socialism with the series of reforms between 1961 and 1973. Finally, it will briefly address the so-called BOAL reforms which can be viewed as a step backward from market socialism, but introduced bureaucracy into an already weak market structure; exacerbating republic relations and setting the stage for the country's inevitable collapse.
This paper focuses on two visions of market socialism by authors Alec Nove, author of The Economics of Feasible Socialism (1983), and John E. Roemer, author of A Future for Socialism (1994). Alec Nove’s considerations for a market socialist economy are fairly broad in scope, but offers little in the way of concrete proposals to address some of the important questions raised such as foreign trade and patent protection. Roemer, on the other hand, is more narrowly focused on investment and the structure of public ownership for a modern market socialist system. Roemer’s model, while novel in its conception of public ownership, is less traditional than what socialists like Nove might advocate. However, Roemer does leave the door open for changes over time. The paper also considers what we should assume will still be present in a market oriented economy, considerations of property rights around land and patent protection, and review the social ownership forms permitted in a market socialism. This paper will also discuss the ‘alignment’ problem for labor-managed firms in light of the Yugoslav experience.
The Job Guarantee: A Primer (2017)
This paper will consider various aspects of the job guarantee proposal including its potential social benefits, impact on the labor market and inflation, costs and finance, and important lessons from the New Deal and recent empirical research on public-service employment programs among OECD countries. Many argue the success or failure of such an ambitious program depends the details of how it is administered and designed. New Deal era programs were considered a failure due to various issues of design. More contemporary attempts by European countries have been plagued by similar issues which fail to transition the long-term unemployed into the private sector due mostly to a lack of training and education opportunities. There are also many ways to structure the program in terms of how participants receive jobs. We will explore these issues in some depth. To the extent that this paper offers any meaningful contribution to the literature, it will be to emphasize the lessons learned from past U.S. experience and more recent experiments in other OECD countries.
While class conflict between the capitalist and the working class is ever present, the dynamics are more complicated than the traditional Marxian analysis passed down in Capital Vol. I. Both Marx and Engels, and later Lenin, came to recognize that revolutionary class consciousness is a murkier social process than it would seem. The theory of labor aristocracy argues that there are two political trends in the working class that manifest in the imperialist stage of capitalism: (1) revolutionism, spurred in conditions which engender radical class consciousness; (2) opportunism, a tendency of parts of the working class to align themselves with the bourgeoisie in exchange for privileges not shared by the whole. Bourgeoisie exploit the opportunism through “bribes” to the upper strata of the labor movement cultivating a “labor aristocracy” which in turn promote compliance and promulgate bourgeoisie ideology. Thus, revolutionary social change is hindered not just by direct opposition of the capitalist class, but a subversive labor aristocracy interested in maintaining the status quo. The aim of this paper is to explore the limited literature on class alliances and intra-class struggle. In particular, we will look to the observations by Marx and Engels on the nineteenth century English working class as did Lenin in his development of the theory of imperialism which he used to explain the emergence of the “aristocracy of labour,” and attempt to apply the framework for the post-industrial era.
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