On Thu, 03 Jul 2003 06:16:59 GMT, "Josh Dougherty"
I don't believe there's equivocation. He says Parecon, being
independent of "state", can exist with or without a state
He is using a non standard definition of state. Parecon is
totalitarianism, thus the apex of the parecon pyramid is the
The communist states did not have anything resembling
What they supposedly had was *more* free and anarchic than what
Parecon supposedly will have.
In Stalin's system central planning was supposedly merely
indicative. The communist party would recommend production
goals, and mass meetings would "voluntarily" adopt those goals
-- invariably by unanimous vote.
In the Parecon system, planning is overtly coercive. The mass
meeting merely votes on the quota it would like to get, and
this *request* is considered by their masters and balanced
against other requests.
In Stalin's system, the factory works meeting was theoretically
primary, and the central plan supposedly merely indicative. In
Parecon the factory works meeting is merely indicative, and the
central plan primary.
Parecon is akin to, and arguably part of, the left
communist/Trotskyist critique of Leninism and Stalinism, that
Lenin and Stalin did not go far enough, were insufficiently
socialist, were state capitalist. However it is also
simultaneously part of the syndicalist/National Socialist
critique of Leninism and Stalinism that they went too far. It
rhetorically combines both world views, even though they are
In practice, the syndicalist/nazi critique of existent
communism produced outcomes that were less totalitarian than
existent communism, for example Nazi Germany and syndicalist
Catalonia, while the left communist critique of existent
communism produced outcomes that were more totalitarian than
existent communism, most notoriously Khmer Rouge Cambodia.
Since Parecon incorporates both contradictory criticisms
simultaneously, it is simultaneously more totalitarian and less
totalitarian than recently existen communism.
The citizenry didn't make the economic decisions and probably
had little or no say over their work.
Theoretically they had a lot more say than the citizenry in
Parecon. All you are saying is that this time around your
intentions are better than they wer last time around.
The citizenry in Parecon do not make economic decisions. They
decide on *requests", "requests", which must be "coordinated"
by someone above.
When I request a toothbrush, the toothbrush needs hog bristles
(for simplicity, let us assume late nineteenth century
technology, as in the early Soviet Union). So someone has to
be allocated to shovel hog shit. That bureaucracy that
aggregates all the requests for toothbrushes, and generates
such and such a number of hog shit shovelling assignments, is
the central planning office of the state.
Of course, in practice, you are going to discover that no
matter how many people are assigned to shovel hog shit, and no
matter how few are assigned to go fishing, there will be more
fishing done, and less hog shit shovelled, than was planned.
So then you wind up with the police arresting people for
"wrecking", and "parasitism", a process whose greatest
excessess came to be known in Russia as "The great terror".
Parecon has a central planning apparatus. Been tried. To give
effect to those plans, you will need police, terror, and slave
labor camps. Either the economy goes to hell due to massive
disregard for the central plan and spontaneous privatization,
or you operate a vast apparatus of terror. The usual outcome
is a compromise -- an alarming level of goofing off and
spontaneous privatization, combined with a level of terror that
is disturbing, but far less than Stalinist terror.
As the Pilgrim fathers found when they attempted a Christian
socialist utopia in the US, to make socialism work, you have to
wade through blood. Being reluctant to wade through blood,
many of them starved to death. As a short term fix, they
imposed fair bit of violent coercion, with a bit of torture
every now and then, and as a longer term fix, they dismantled
Christian socialism and developed the orthodoxy that as a
result of the fall and the expulsion from Eden, God commanded
private property and what we now call capitalism.
All of the decisions were made by central planners.
In Parecon someone aggregates ten million "requests" for
toothbrushes, decides so many hog bristles will be needed, and
issues so many job slots for hog shit shovellers. Is that
someone not a central planner? People like him make all
decisions. Terror follows. We have been there and done that.
James A. Donald