The Faith of a Liberal: Selected Essays by Morris R. Cohen

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11 SOCIALISM AND CAPITALISM

RECENT ECONOMIC CHANGES have increased the general interest in the issues between Communism or Socialism and what we have been used to call capitalism. In this discussion the assumptions common to both sides have not been sufficiently emphasized. Both sides believe, in fact, in a planned economy, in which science and technology are applied to production based on capital goods, tools, and machinery. In this sense both parties literally believe in capitalism, and their programs do and must have a good deal in common--more than is ordinarily recognized. They differ, to be sure, in their plans. According to the party of social capitalism, the planning is to be by the community or state, while according to the advocate of individualistic capitalism planning is to be by private individuals, who, under the illusion of self-seeking, are supposed to bring into existence economic harmonies established by God, Nature, or the eternal laws of economics. But history shows that planning of some sort is essential to all forms of capitalism--i.e., to all forms of society where the production of goods on a large scale for an anticipated demand depends on a stock of previously created goods.

It may clarify and vitalize the issue to call attention to the existence of another party, not so vocal just now but quite numerous, who do not believe in capitalism of either sort, who

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The major part of this paper was delivered as a lecture before a Conference on Economic and Social Planning, March 10, 1932, sponsored by the Bureau of Personnel Administration.

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The Faith of a Liberal: Selected Essays by Morris R. Cohen
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