Saturday, December 28, 2013

Against Redistributionism

An interesting debate by non-World Socialist Movement theorists who however share much of our economic analysis. In their opening speeches the four speakers virtually put our case against "underconsumption" theories of crises and of an increase in popular consumption as the way-out.
One of them coins the new word "redistributionism". I think that might convey better what we mean as it's a good description of the policies of those who say "Tax the Rich to pay for the Crisis they caused", e.g. the trotskist groups and left-wing trade union leaders.

All the speakers call for the abolition of wage-labour (as opposed to higher wages, which like us they are all for, though not for "redistributionist" reasons), though only one (McIntosh of International Perspective) explicitly spells out that this involves the abolition of money too. He also rejects "labour-time vouchers" (which Kliman and the Marxist-Humanist Initiative don't, but they didn't rise to the bait). [ALB]

1 comment:

ajohnstone said...

I don't think we are necessarily committed to Kliman's view (extensively argued, with graphs and statistics, in his pamphlet) that there was no redistribution of income (which would be brought about by the spontaneous operation of the economic laws of capitalism) from the working class to the capitalist class in the years preceding the outbreak of the present crisis in 2008. This would certainly show that crises are not caused by the working class coming to consume too small a portion of national income but is not absolutely or logically necessary to demonstrate this point.

The speakers from "Internationalist Perspective" disagreed with him on this and I think we too, accurately or inaccurately, have accepted and publicised that working class living standards in the US have stagnated over the past 30 or so years. He may be right that in fact they didn't but have even increased (taking into account the so-called "social wage") but this is still a matter of controversy. In any event, as one of the IP speakers pointed out, quoting CLR James (originally Marx), that whether their wages be higher or lower the working class are still exploited.