Academic journal article World Review of Political Economy

Social Sciences for the Support of a World of Solidarity1

Academic journal article World Review of Political Economy

Social Sciences for the Support of a World of Solidarity1

Article excerpt

Abstract: By taking up Marx and Engels' motive to transform utopian types of socialism into a scientific project, this article describes the advances in science on the level of mathematical modeling and simulation. One can see that there is a shiftof focus away from purely deterministic models of mirroring reality as Marx has done, via econometric models where randomness is seen as unintended and unnecessary, towards models where randomness becomes important because it allows for a qualitative change of behavior. Corresponding examples are given. Finally, a proposal is made to establish an international working group of political economists using various methods of simulation techniques to interactively accompany socialist projects.

Key words: social sciences; solidarity; mathematical modeling; simulation; political economist

Introduction

More than 130 years ago Frederick Engels stated in his paper "Socialism: Utopian and Scientific"2 two great discoveries, the materialistic conception of history and the revelation of the secret of capitalistic production through surplus-value, we owe to Marx. With these discoveries, Socialism became a science. The next thing was to work out all its details and relations. On the other hand, Engels' legacy "The Dialectics of Nature" offered essential insights to posterity in how to interpret natural sciences in the context of a materialistic perspective. At the same time Marx and Engels showed in their writings how to analyze both, society and nature, in an integrated and dialectic way.

Although more than 100 hundred years have passed since, these insights (the materialistic concept of history, the mechanism of capitalistic production, and the dialectics of nature) still represent the basis of leftscientific thought, allowing us deeper insights in the fabrics of history and nature. But we have to be careful: History did not stop with Marx and Engels, nor did all kinds of sciences and research. History showed qualitative new features and relations and enriched our understanding of the world. Therefore we should not use outdated and failed concepts of either Socialism or Nature. We should not repeat the mistakes of the past. It is imperative to Marxists to apply the best methods, the most efficient concepts, and the deepest insights the human mind has discovered, in the undertaking of a new kind of Socialism, and to elaborate and promote science and research. It is necessary that the new ideas are not only utopian, but are based on the most developed scientific and political insights available.

Four issues have to be taken into account with high priority:

* Concrete pathways towards the "emancipation of labor" (see the interview with Karl Marx in the Chicago Tribune, January 5, 1879)-with a focus on ALL kinds of labor, be it paid or unpaid, formal or informal, manual or non-manual.

* Pathways towards socio-economic and gender equality.

* Establishing a culture of democracy, participation, solidarity, recognition, inclusion, and conviviality.

* Protecting the natural environment, transforming production and its energy base towards sustainability.

These goals represent a really complex and demanding task. We have to be careful not to work on simplified solutions like adopting outdated concepts of society, based on authoritarian rule, destroying our social and natural environment. In particular Marx's demand for emancipation is not compatible with it. Also, a change of our personal lifestyle is needed, foremost in the wealthy countries of our planet, which has to be based on a changed mindset.

But one of the most important areas of change is still the politico-economic system. Although there is no ideal way towards a society of solidarity, there is definitely no hope of reaching such a goal without a political transformation of the economy. In the paper "Dynamic Modeling towards a Society of Solidarity" Carsten Stahmer described basic features of a new economic order in Germany. …

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