Socialism Revised and Modernized: The Case for Pragmatic Market Socialism

By James A. Yunker | Go to book overview

objection. The advocate soon realizes that it is impossible to win this game. It can only be hoped that capitalist apologetics has not been so overwhelmingly successful in the non-Communist Western world as to forever preclude a novel form of socialism, the pragmatic market socialist form, to which only a very small part of the standard body of capitalist apologetics applies at all--and that part of it very imperfectly and unpersuasively.


NOTES
1.
Francis Y. Edgeworth well-known statement of the argument occurred in Part III of the three-part article "The Pure Theory of Taxation" published in the Economic Journal ( 1897). A celebrated postscript was added by Abba Lerner in Chapter 3 of The Economics of Control ( 1944). Skeptics of progressive taxation had particularly objected to the assumption in Edgeworth's argument that all individuals possess identical utility functions relating income to utility: These skeptics argued that it was quite plausible that some individuals would derive more utility from income than would others. In any event, since there was no objective way to measure utility, the Edgeworthian argument for progressive taxation rested upon the unscientific foundation of subjective judgment. In response to these points, Lerner argued that in the absence of knowledge of individual utility functions, equal distribution of income (given the other Edgeworthian assumptions and particularly the assumption of diminishing marginal utility of income) would maximize the expected sum of utilities.
2.
Interestingly, John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern seminal treatise, The Theory of Games and Economic Behavior ( 1947), was written during the period of von Neumann's involvement with the Manhattan Project. Among other things, the treatise deals with the significance of a concave utility function in income in terms of risk aversion, develops an axiomatic argument for the rationality of expected utility maximization as a basis for decision-making under uncertainty, and applies linear programming to the solution of zero-sum games. The work is considered to be the foundation of modern uncertainty analysis, as exemplified by the compendiums edited by Jacques Drèze ( 1974) and Peter Diamond and Michael Rothschild ( 1978).
3.
The author has contributed an article ( "Public Finance", 1983) on the issue of consumption externalities (i.e., envy and altruism) in relation to optimal redistribution. Still other arguments for redistribution are contained in the compendium edited by Harold Hochman and George Peterson ( 1974). Most of the papers in that volume envision transfers from relatively advantaged groups to relatively disadvantaged groups, and frequently some sort of social welfare concept is employed. Among many public choice theorists, the notion of social welfare is disparaged, and it is argued that social decisions and policies eventuate from the interplay and competition among opposed private self-interests. Thus in his 1983 book on redistribution, the eminent public choice theorist Gordon Tullock argues that in actual fact in the contemporary United States the great majority of explicit and

-92-

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Socialism Revised and Modernized: The Case for Pragmatic Market Socialism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Title Page ix
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - A New Perspective on Socialism 1
  • 2 - The Pragmatic Market Socialist Proposal 29
  • Notes 58
  • 3 - Pragmatic Market Socialism: Pro and Con 67
  • Notes 92
  • 4 97
  • Notes 140
  • 6 - Investment, Growth, and Entrepreneurship 175
  • Notes 199
  • 7 - People's Capitalism 205
  • Notes 234
  • 8 - Capitalism and Democracy 241
  • Notes 257
  • 9 - Capitalism and History 259
  • Notes 273
  • 10 - Prospects for Change? 277
  • ANALYTICAL APPENDIX 291
  • References 307
  • SUBJECT INDEX 325
  • NAME INDEX 333
  • About the Author 338
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