Discutir alternativas

A mais recente edição da revista Jacobin contém um artigo longo, mas muito interessante, intitulado The Red and the Black. Nele são discutidos os contornos do que poderia ser um sistema económico alternativo ao Capitalismo, bem como o processo de transição. São comparados vários sistemas económicos, incluindo de cariz centralista e participativos como Parecon.

Alguns extratos:

"Radicals have a habit of speaking in the conditional. Underlying all their talk about the changes they’d like to see in the world is the uneasy knowledge that our social system places rigid limits on how much change can be accomplished now. “After the revolution…” is the wistful, ironic preface to many a fondly expressed wish on the Left.

Why, then, are radicals so hesitant to talk about what a different system might look like? One of the oldest and most influential objections to such talk comes from Marx, with his oft-quoted scorn toward utopian “recipes” for the “cookshops of the future.” The moral of the quote, supposedly, is that a future society must emerge from the spontaneous dynamics of history, not from the isolated imaginings of some scribbler.


A related cause for reticence is the feeling that to spell out ideas for future social institutions amounts to a sort of technocratic elitism that stifles the utopian élan of the people-in-motion. Great social change never happens without multitudes becoming inspired to heroic acts of enthusiasm, and patient attempts to grapple realistically with the material problems of a functioning society are rarely so inspiring. This is by no means a trivial objection; one of the oldest fallacies on the Left is the illusion that change happens when someone comes along with a brilliant ten-point plan and manages to convince everyone of its genius.

Still, a successful radical project has to appeal to every emotional register: not just those ecstatic moments when history opens up and everything seems possible, but also those pensive and critical moods when even inveterate optimists-of-the-will find doubt and reflection taking over. Even a struggle as epic and impassioned as the movement for the eight-hour day – which “seemed one of the most striking utopias of revolutionary socialism” at the time, as Elie Halévy remembered – was, in the end, about a bureaucratic measure, enforced by legal directives and factory inspectors.


Radicals responded to the end of “really existing socialism” mainly in two ways. Most stopped talking about a world after capitalism at all, retreating to a modest politics of piecemeal reform, or localism, or personal growth.

The other response was exactly the opposite — an escape forward into the purest and most uncompromising visions of social reconstruction. In certain radical circles, this impulse has lately heightened the appeal of a leap toward a world with no states or markets, and thus no money, wages, or prices: a system in which goods would be freely produced and freely taken, where the economy would be governed entirely by the maxim “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.”


How should these socialized firms actually be governed? A complete answer to that question lies far beyond the scope of an essay like this; minutely describing the charters and bylaws of imaginary enterprises is exactly the kind of Comtist cookshop recipe that Marx rightly ridiculed. But the basic point is clear enough: since these firms buy and sell in the market, their performance can be rationally judged. A firm could be controlled entirely by its workers, in which case they could simply collect its entire net income, after paying for the use of the capital.[2] Or it could be “owned” by an entity in the socialized capital market, with a management selected by that entity and a strong system of worker co-determination to counterbalance it within the firm. Those managers and “owners” could be evaluated on the relative returns the firm generates, but they would have no private property rights over the absolute mass of profits.[3] If expectations of future performance needed to be “objectively” judged in some way, that is something the socialized capital markets could do.

Such a program does not amount a utopia; it does not proclaim Year Zero or treat society as a blank slate. What it tries to do is sketch a rational economic mechanism that denies the pursuit of profit priority over the fulfillment of human needs. Nor does it rule out further, more basic changes in the way humans interact with each other and their environment – on the contrary, it lowers the barriers to further change.

In a tribute to Isaac Deutscher, the historian Ellen Meiksins-Wood praised his “measured vision of socialism, which recognized its promise for human emancipation without harboring romantic illusions that it would cure all human ills, miraculously making people ‘free’, in Shelley’s words, ‘from guilt or pain.’” Socialism, Deutscher had written, was not “evolution’s last and perfect product or the end of history, but in a sense only the beginning of history.” As long as the Left can retain this elemental basis of hope, it will keep a horizon beyond capitalism in its sights."

2 comentários:

miguel disse...

Estou a ler o artigo, mas uma questão surge: qual o interesse em substituir o sistema de mercado de produção e de definição de preços? é uma solução poderosa e simples. porque não incorporar esta ideia no projecto socialista? não me parece que sejam incompatíveis, estamos só a falar de um conceito de oferta e procura, que pode ser utilizado de inúmeras maneiras.

Pedro Viana disse...

Boa noite,

Se já acabou de ler o artigo, Miguel, terá verificado que o autor concorda consigo. Também sou da opinião que a existência de mercados não é sinónimo de Capitalismo, sendo compatíveis com um sistema radicalmente democrático de decisão. O que caracteriza o Capitalismo é a desigualdade no acesso a recursos, perpetuada através da acumulação de capital (sob a forma de moeda ou meios de produção).


Pedro Viana