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From the Pen of David Horowitz: November 10, 2009

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Posted on November 10 2009 12:49 am
David Swindle is the Managing Editor of NewsReal Blog and the Associate Editor of FrontPage Magazine. Follow him on Twitter here
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david_p

Do I like the goals you offered? Michael, socialism is a fairy tale (yours included). Do we like the happy ending put together by the fairy godmother? Of course we do. Should we act in our lives as though the fairy godmother is really out there? I don’t think so.

Here’s my argument: Socialism doesn’t work first because you can’t substitute politics (plans) for the market and get anything like a rational allocation of resources, and second because without the incentive to accumulate property most people are not going to work very hard. Third, without private property as a basis for the system, you can’t have the kind of democracy, individual rights etc. that we’ve grown accustomed to and human beings seem to want. Your preferred form of socialism also depends on people reading Michael Albert, understanding what he’s talking about, and agreeing with his prescriptions. Meeting these conditions is impossible in the real world of human beings as we know them

….

You can’t confront me with all the atrocities of capitalist states, because, unlike you, I don’t believe that the mode of production determines everything we need to know about a society, or that we can escape the human condition by creating “new men” and “new women” and usher in a new millennium in the process. What I know about capitalism is that it has brought a level of comfort, leisure and freedom to billions of lives and through its ability to develop new technologies (something all Marxist regimes – including Cuba’s – have lacked) has raised the quality of life for ordinary working people to a level beyond that of kings, less than a hundred years ago.

I actually have read some of your work on participatory economics in issues of Z some years ago. I tried participatory economics at Ramparts when Peter Collier and I ran it, and it didn’t work. Perhaps this was our failing, but until you convince me, I will persist in thinking that human beings, being vastly unequal in ability and attention span, and pretty self-serving and often mean when they get the opportunity, are incapable of organizing themselves into a “participatory economy” which will render justice perfect. Nor do I think that most people given the freedom to decide would choose your model over the one we have.

Albert Vs. Horowitz

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