Seth Ackerman: The Economics of a Feasible Socialism


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From Conor McCabe on Gods Away on Business.

Radicals have a habit of speaking in the conditional. Underlying all their talk about the changes they’d like to see in the world is the uneasy knowledge that our social system places rigid limits on how much change can be accomplished now. “After the revolution…” is the wistful, ironic preface to many a fondly expressed wish on the Left. Why, then, are radicals so hesitant to talk about what a different system might look like? … In this essay, I start from the common socialist assumption that capitalism’s central defects arise from the conflict between the pursuit of private profit and the satisfaction of human needs. Then I sketch some of the considerations that would have to be taken into account in any attempt to remedy those defects.

The rest of this article, entitled The Red and the Black, is available on the Jacobin website, here In early January 2013, Seth was interviewed by Doug Henwood. for his radio show, Behind The News. Doug also produces Left Business Observer, which is available on subscription here. The full show, which was broadcast  on 3 January 2013, is available online here. Doug Henwood has very kindly allowed me to put up his interview with Ackerman as a standalone mp3. It’s about 30 minutes long.


2 Responses

  1. Donagh

    January 29, 2013 9:25 pm

    Thanks LeftattheCross, much to catch up on there. I followed a couple of the links to John Quiggin’s response to Ackerman’s essay, and it fulfills all my expectations about the inadequacy of Quiggin’s thought when I exposed myself to it before. In the conclusion he suggests that ‘social democracy’ will tame the beast of financial capital. As an indication of where it is re-surging from he cites publications and institutions like the New Yorker and The European Commission. Basically, he’s hoping that capitalism has over-stretched itself and will be put back in it’s box.