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“True Socialism” and the State: A Follow-Up

"I endorse Austro Libertarian Magazine 100%" —Tom Woods

“True Socialism” and the State: A Follow-Up

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Quick note: I’ve decided to shift the blog section of the site from a separate subdomain to the main site, in its own category. So all future articles will show up at AustroLibertarian.com.

As a followup to my article yesterday on the meaning of socialism, I want to make a quick comment on the idea of the state owning and controlling the means of production. As noted, the Orthodox Marxists define socialism as public ownership in the means of production. These Marxists do not consider state ownership and control as adequately meeting this definition. Thus, in situations (the Soviet Union) where the state owned everything, they consider this to be a horrific bastardization of socialism. In fact, they might even call it “state capitalism” because there is a small group of elites that own and control the industries.

Therefore, systems which are controlled by the state in total are, under the narrow definition demanded by Orthodox Marxists, examples of the plight of “Reformism.” They were meant by the reformists to be temporary situations on the pathway to a true public-ownership situation. The Reformists, obviously failed. We capitalistic libertarians argue that the failure was because there was a lack of private property. The revolutionary marxists blame the failure on the lack of public ownership.

Again, if we are going to dismiss the Marxist narrow definition of socialism and employ a more historically aware use of “socialism,” then this “state socialism” is indeed an example of socialism’s failure. See the recent essay for more context.

But to be clear: this state-socialism did not meet the standards of the orthodox marxists.

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CJay Engel

Creator and Editor of Austro Libertarian. Lives in Northern CA, runs several businesses, spends time with his family, and reads as much economics and political theory as possible.

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