Ideology, planning and the market

Critical Review 5 (4):559-572 (1991)
Abstract
In Alienation and the Soviet Economy, 2nd ed., Paul Craig Roberts attributes the excesses of war communism, the resistance to market?type reforms, and the retention until very recently of administered material allocation in the Soviet Union, to Marxist ideology, and in particular to Marx's views on the link between markets and ?alienation.? However, war communism was due in some part also to war emergency, and it was not only ideology but also the interests of the ruling stratum that delayed the much?needed move towards a market economy. There are indeed problems in reconciling socialist ideas with efficiency and entrepreneurship, and Lange's attempt to define a sort of neoclassical socialism was unsatisfactory. However, it does not follow that the only alternative to Soviet?type planning is untrammelled laissez faire. Our own system can also give rise to alienation, and to the need for action by public authorities to take care of environmental and other externalities and provide essential social services.
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