Re: [sixties-l] Re: Horowitz corporations

Date: Sat Jul 15 2000 - 01:54:08 CUT

  • Next message: Marty Jezer: "Re: [sixties-l] Re: Horowitz corporations"

    To say that socialist economies cannot succeed
    at technological innovation is bizarre.

    Someone has forgotten about Sputnik.
    Additionally, the Soviets were the first
    to send a man into space. For several
    years the US was frantically trying to
    match them.

    Capitalism continually innovates, but much
    of what is produced is cultural garbage.
    Then they use advertising to convince us
    that we need it. A lot of the junk coming
    out of our "innovative" system I would
    actually have a better life without.

    One of the worst "innovations" affecting
    my life in a negative fashion is the loud
    car stereo. Ever had your sleep, work, or
    concentration disturbed by a boom car
    rattling your windows?

    Cell phones? Who needs 'em? I get tired
    of hearing the ugly electronic "Pop Goes
    the Weasel" going off in libraries, which,
    in more civil times, were recognized as
    places where quiet was the rule.

    Paul Baron and Paul Sweezy had a lot to say
    about corporate "innovation" in their classic
    Monopoly Capital. They pointed out that
    just about every technological innovation
    in the auto industry of any substance was
    accomplished before 1950, when there were
    numerous competitors producing autos. Then
    in the 50s, when the market was dominated
    by the Big Three, competition was based only
    on styling changes and advertising strategis.

    It remained that way until the Japanese
    came along, and introduced the Big Three to
    the "innovative" idea of building a dependable,
    fuel-efficient car that lasts for a while.

    ~~ Michael Wright
      Norman, Oklahoma

    In a message dated Fri, 14 Jul 2000 7:58:24 PM Eastern Daylight Time, Marty Jezer <> writes:

    << That's quite a statement, Bill, and I expect it is a result of both hard
    thinking and personal anguish. I would say that socialist countries can
    mass produce products like big multinational corporations. Communists
    failure is that command economics leave little room for innovation; the
    entrepreneurial spirit. Those are words I choke on saying, but it's the
    truth. Here people see a need for a product and they fill that need. True,
    most of the products are unnecessary and most entrepreneurial ventures
    fail. But some do fulfill a need. Corporations, themselves, rarely
    innovate. They simply buy out the new ventures.

    I agree with Bill that in the immediate era we need a social democratic New
    Deal for modern times. Environmental regulations, progressive taxation, a
    civic society that values democracy and justice. But the game ain't over.
    Free market globalization has some real dangerous downside that even its
    most ardent advocates (e.g., Thomas Friedman in The Lexus and the Olive
    Tree) admit.

    Alas, the digital revolution, robotics, the internet are here to stay; the
    ability of investors to move money around the world at the click up a mouse
    changes everything.

    Syndicalism, cooperatives, some form of market socialism are ideas whose
    time has not yet come, but we can't stop the experiments and the advocacy.

    And the fight against bigotry and the immoral use of wealth and power can
    never stop.

    Marty Jezer

    At 10:22 PM 7/13/2000 -0700, you wrote:
    >I haven't "bought into" anything. It has been my vocation and
    >avocation to study for sixty years the countries that actually
    >did abolish capitalist classes and private ownership of the means
    >of production. The only organizations that did that were
    >Communist parties. Anarchists, with their long traditions in
    >Italy, France, and Spain, did not. Trotskyists, including a
    >number of devoted and courageous people, never amounted to
    >anything: 2,000 members in the U.S., vs. 100,000 in the CP. The
    >societies without capitalists, without private ownership of the
    >means of production, and without markets, i.e., those that met
    >Marx' stated criteria for socialism, all ultimately collapsed.
    >The most human societies that now exist are those with capitalism
    >of a social-democratic or New Deal nature. When we here attain
    >that, we'll be vastly better off. That will not end history, but
    >it will be for those in that capitalism with a human face to set
    >themselves further goals and seek routes to attain them.
    > Certainly global mega-corporations not only reflect but
    >effectuate economies of scale. And certainly they do all the
    >terrible things you list. By every measure of human welfare --
    >life expectancy, health, education, whatever -- people are better
    >off in the "developed" capitalist countries than anywhere else.
    >It is also true that, in the United States, the living standard
    >of the majority has declined in the past thirty years, but it
    >remains one that Haitian peasants and Israeli Ph.D.s fight like
    >hell to come here to enjoy.
    > There are no easy answers and no formulaic solutions.
    > William Mandel

    Marty Jezer  *  22 Prospect St. *  Brattleboro, VT 05301 * p/f  802 257-5644 

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