Some more thoughts on production in a Communist Society

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Let me preface this short comment by saying that the classic Marxist rebuttal of, ‘my ideology has been formed by my economic mode’ is probably more than sufficient to knock down my argument, but I shall proceed nevertheless.

During one of our last discussions, we drew upon the concept that in a Marxist society the free market would no longer decide what we produce. Rather, we would just ‘decide’ what we need and then make that/those item(s) – the specific number/quantity that we needed, and no more than that.

This concept struck me as a bit ‘off the deep end’ when I heard it, and continues to perplex me.  My first thought was, ‘how’? How could the populous possibility decide on what and how much of everything we need to produce? The majority of everyone’s day would be spend in a huge meeting room voting if we really need 7 or 8 pairs of socks.

Further, if, as Marx hopes, we become Universal Citizens (ie Utilitarianism), then there would be no production protection for the minority.  For example, because the greatest number of people are not in need of a wheelchair, the true Universal Citizen would say we don’t need them. Clearly, those people that are in need of a wheel chair DO need them.

After a bit of rumination, I stumbled on what I still believe to be the best solution: the free market.  If I think we should have 8 pairs of sock, then I go and buy 8 pairs of socks – essentially, I am voting with my dollar. The ‘huge meeting room’ is replaced by the market place. Further, the free market allows for the person in need of a wheelchair to buy one, as if there is a need (big or small), the free market will fill it.

Call me a filthy capitalist pig, but there just doesn’t seem to be a better solution.

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2 Responses to “Some more thoughts on production in a Communist Society”

  1. buddha235 Says:

    The very term, “Free Market” by definition requires unfettered, free competition. Yet, in many, many of our economic sectors free market do not, and cannot exist. For example, the current issue of medical insurance coverage where the country has been carved up by the various insurance providers so they have exclusive, or at minimum, near exclusive access to a given state or region. This has been granted by law by the US Congress. Why? Who does it serve? It certainly does not help keep prices down, so it is not benefiting the body politic of a given state or region. But it does enrich – and has enriched the insurance companies. Where is the freedom here?

    How can one call any market free if there are controls that limit the competition?

    I fully comprehend the nature of “special interest democracy.” Those who can afford to control the message the masses receive. They also sway the votes on capital hill. And, when necessary they will join forces in an attempt to quash any revisions that would limit their control. This is not a FREE MARKET.

    I do not claim to be an educated free market capitalist. However, where theory works wonderfully well on paper, the application of such theorized principles rarely, if ever, pans out to the benefit of the many versus the wishes of the few.

    In fact, if you look at the continued existence of the electoral college in presidential elections, you will find that this outdated process gives more power to states with a smaller population than those with larger populations. And in the age of the internet and mass education, the very precepts upon which the electoral college was based, are now out dated and serve no useful purpose except where the few are concerned.

  2. jakehanegan Says:

    First, I would like to point out that you make very solid claims as to the short falls of our modern free market system. It is indeed true that competition is limited by certain controls, however I am not entirely sure your claim that the Congress passed laws to, in affect, make specific insurance companies monopolies is valid. I could very well be wrong on this, but a citation from you would be helpful. Our government made it clear with the Sherman Anti Trust Act that it supported competition and was against the monopolization on any company (excluding the postal service, of course).
    Further, a free market, I believe, does not imply absolute competition equality, what I believe you are referring to as ‘freedom’. An example: I own the sock company ‘Awesome socks’, and as the name implies, I make really awesome socks. People know that I make awesome socks, and they buy a bunch of them making me a very rich man with a very large and powerful sock-making brand. Now, Dr. Mackin sees that I am rich and wants a piece of the action, so he starts his own sock company. He starts his sock making business, but fails (sorry Dr. Mackin). Why? Well by the vary nature of my Awesome Socks company being so successful, I limited competition. My power to advertise and the inherent power of my brand (think Nike) assured that while Dr. Mackin most definitely made good socks too, I would still be top dog. I don’t believe anyone could look at this situation and say that Dr. Mackin and I were not operating in a free market.
    To be more on topic, I believe – through personal experience – that even in healthcare can there be competition. We all know that insurance companies are huge and have lots of lobbying power in the US (this is partially due to the fact that they many people buy into these few companies giving them the same power I discussed in the last paragraph). But it is possible to buy into a small insurance company as my family does, or not buy insurance at all. These options are the essence of the free market, and while of course options are limited by the power of these large companies, those options exist nonetheless.
    Now, I’m not entirely sure that you were writing about a few problems with the free market, or a rebuttal to the concept entirely, but I’m going to – common colloquialism fully realized – assume the latter. When discussing the problems with the free market I believe you are not weakening the concept, but in fact strengthening it. Changeability is the most critical component, and power to affect this change is held by everyone.
    The free market gives you a vote, by means of your dollar, to say whether or not you think something is right/good/should be supported. For example, I like Awesome Socks, and thus supported them buy ‘voting’ for them with my dollar. I don’t like gas-guzzlers, so I don’t buy them and ‘vote’ with my dollar for a Prius. If I think that a company is getting too big for it’s britches, I won’t vote for it, and that is the beauty of the free market.

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