Economics and Philosophy

Discussions

Final Reply to Professor Schweickart

N. Scott Arnolda1

a1 University of Alabama, Birmingham

Since Schweickart asserts that I have not addressed his main argument, let me consider briefly the four claims he advances at the beginning of his second reply.

Regarding 1: To argue, as I have, that there would be a strong tendency for market socialism to degenerate into capitalism, it is necessary to spell out carefully what capitalism is. Following Marx, I defined capitalism as a system in which the workers do not control the means of production and the workers sell their labor power as a commodity. As G.A. Cohen has pointed out (Cohen, 1978, pp. 219–23), this definition can be given a rechtsfrei characterization in terms of effective powers over means of production and labor power. Actual legal arrangements are not the issue. In my original paper, I never said that the workers would sell the means of production. Thus 1 is irrelevant. The real questions are: (a) Who effectively controls the means of production? (b) Who effectively gets the profits? If the answer to both of these questions is, “Not the workers,” it follows that the workers are effectively proletarians and the system is a form of capitalism.