I object to this

We can agree that heavy-handed price controls are poor economic policy, but even free market commentator Tim Worstall of Forbes conceded that this only indicts non-market forms of socialism, since we can “conceive of a socialist economy that does work, it just needs to be a market and prices based economy among socialist organisations like cooperatives.”

How is a free market commentator conceding anything when he insists that markets work, non-markets don’t?

7 comments on “I object to this

  1. In theory free markets and socialism can co-exist. But in reality the only proper examples of this (such as John Lewis) exist in a capitalist sytem.

    Socialism is about control. FREE markets are about the opposite. They cannot co-exist at scale because people will choose to enrich themselves and not to do what they are told to by the apparatchiks.

  2. I agree with Patrick. Although enrich or simply go a different way..

    Here we have the Mondragón cooperatives. They save themselves from extinction by behaving like corporates competing in the market.

    And they go bankrupt when appropriate (although they are heavily into helping each other and taking people from a troubled company to a less-troubled one.

    They seem to have hit a brick wall as far as scale goes. Lots of companies, some genuine medium-sized but mainly small. When the moment arrives they take on employees to grow and down-size….. Big case at the moment as the owners of one that went bankrupt are behaving like ex-employees and taking the management to court.

    They like the profit sharing but the downside: not so much!

    But don’t take any notice, I’m just upset because they don’t buy from me!!!!

  3. @ patrick
    Read Acts IV 32 to V 17 and VI 1 to 6; the ideal of socialism only works if *everyone* subscribes to it.

  4. It is your own fault. You keep insisting John Lewis is a Socialst organisation whereas it is a mutual society. The two are not the same. Think NHS v BUPA.

    Under Socialism non-constributors can draw on the resources of the group, in a mutual only the contributors can; under Socialism each receives benefit according to needs, in a mutual according to merit.

    Can anyone walk in off the street and get a share of JLP’s profits? No? It ain’t Socialist then is it?

  5. The problem with free market socialism is that businesses require capital to grow and expand. Under socialism this can only come from the workers or the State. The workers don’t have enough capital to fund and so it comes from the State.

    Capital therefore gets allocated based on political philosophy rather than need; and this therefore incentivises the business to run itself based on what the politicians want, rather than what is best for the consumers. At this point the “free market” part of free market socialism disappears and you are left with socialism, and all of the harm that causes.

  6. This is an issue of the way language is used:
    “Socialism works if X” becomes heard as “Socialism Works”.

    For example, if you said “Socialism works if you drop the common ownership of the means of production”, this is still heard by certain parties as Socialism works even though it negates a fundamental aspect. Look at Tony Blair.

    In the same way Socialism but with a market is a non-sequitur. The person who says Socialism with a market works is essentially either saying Socialism doesn’t work (knowingly or not) or else intends that the audience hears Socialism Works.

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