Essays after the Collapse of Communism
New Thinking in Political Economy series
Chapter 5: Marxisms and Market Processes
* Critics of the Austrian School appeared in many forms, from Schmollerian historicists and Veblenian institutionalists to Keynesian interventionists. Compared to their traditional rivals, Austrians seem furthest removed from Marxism on almost any level we wish to compare. For instance, Austrian methodology is deductive, Marxism’s is dialectical. The Austrians developed a radically subjective theory of value, while Marxians, with their own unique twists, followed Ricardo’s labor theory of value. Austrians champion the capitalist market system and claim the impossibility of socialist planning. Marxians championed socialist planning, and claimed the death of capitalism. The diﬀerences between Marxians and Austrians are almost too obvious to list. This chapter has a diﬀerent task: it will explore some of the contemporary Austrian (and non-Austrian) interpretations of Marxian socialism to suggest to younger Austrians that something might be gained by picking through the rubble that characterizes the crisis in contemporary Marxism. MARX AND THE UTOPIANS Socialism is by no means a homogeneous movement (see Wright, 1986). There are as many visions of socialism as there are socialists, maybe even more. Marx, in his criticism of Saint-Simon, Fourier, Owen, and their disciples, ushered in a self-proclaimed ‘scientiﬁc’ (as opposed to ‘utopian’) socialism. Rather than design a detailed blueprint of some imaginary socialist community, and try to convince well-meaning bourgeois types that socialism can be the best of all possible worlds (a practice the utopians were inclined to do – and fail at), Marx would instead thrust forward a radical criticism of capitalism, and from it...
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