“If you are a socialist, and you are toying with the idea of writing a book – now is the time to do so,” writes Kristian Niemietz. “There seems to be an infinite demand for this message right now,” he states in a new book review posted at Religion & Liberty Transatlantic at the author’s request.
Niemietz, the head of political economy at the London-based Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), reviews The Socialist Manifesto: The Case for Radical Politics in an Era of Extreme Inequality by Bhaskar Sunkara. Sunkara, the editor of Jacobin magazine, makes no brief for the Nordic model of social democracy, opting instead for the politics of radical economic redistributionism.
All modern socialists must claim a radical discontinuity between the programs they advocate and those which failed in every socialist economy in history. Sunkara joins the fray:
Sunkara claims that “his” version of socialism would avoid the problems of central planning, because it would still leave some room for market mechanisms. Although all companies would be owned by the state, they would not be run by the state. They would be run by their own workforce, on a democratic basis, like worker cooperatives. There would be no labour markets as such anymore, but there would still be product markets, thus obviating the need for a Five-Year-Plan.
But this is not a new version of socialism. It sounds like Sunkara has just reinvented “market socialism,” the economic system of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). ….
(Photo credit: David Shankbone. CC BY 3.0.)