Socialism And Capitalism

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Socialism And Capitalism

The difference between the capitalist world and the socialist is that, in the former, one can, if one is so motivated and wishes to pay the price, contract out. That is what artists and intellectuals do. They don't turn up working for General Motors. General Motors, in contrast, is manned and led by people who accept, maybe like, the discipline or, in any case, appreciate the pay they receive for their surrender. We expect that many Russians are equally untroubled. Tolstoy said that most men like to give their lives over into the care of the regiment.

The failure of modern socialism was performance. Is that failure in relation to material achievement or in relation to the liberty of the individual? Both, no doubt. The failure in material performance was partly an accident of history. Perhaps it was the misfortune of socialism that it was first tried in Russia. Managing Russians may be even more difficult than managing Frenchmen. Also, in 1917, Russia was still a country of poor peasants and incompetent landlords, not of large, well-organized, capitalist enterprises. The other great socialist experiment has been in China. The Chinese are more gifted and experienced in organization than the Russians, but this is also a peasant land where, additionally, population presses heavily on resources. That kind of pressure means a low standard of living whether a country is socialist or non-socialist. So were one picking the last countries in the world in which to produce a socialist success, China and Russia would be prominent candidates, just after India.

Marx thought socialism should begin in Germany, and he was exceedingly prescient on this point. In the purely material sense, socialism in East Germany works very well. By some calculations, per capita Gross National Product in the GDR is now higher than-in Britain. However, we saw the other day that the GNP is not a precise measure of happiness. With material success, freedom of expression and behaviour take over as issues. It's why, we suppose, there still has to be the Wall.

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The New Philosophers In France

They are, we gather, in retreat from Marxism and now deeply concerned with the relation of the economic system to the individual and vice versa.

There is a conflict here which is inherent in all organization, capitalist or socialist.

It is most acute in the modern socialist state.

The conflict there is also greatly celebrated by, among others, those who most readily accept conformity in the non-socialist world. Marx, we might note, would be distressed by suppression of dissent anywhere, including in the socialist world. He was first expelled from Prussia for advocating and also practicing,... see: The New Philosophers In France

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