1990s >> 1994 >> no-1075-march-1994
Letters: “New World Disorder”
“New World Disorder”
The article “New World Disorder” in the January issue seems to imply that it would have been viable to retain the state capitalist systems of the Soviet Union and eastern Europe, and that the present mess there is due to the West having forced their abandonment. This concept is in my opinion seriously in error.
It is true that the Reagan SDI initiative finally broke the back of the Soviet Union, but this merely accelerated an inevitable end. The retreat from state capitalism is occurring all over the world, because that form has been undercut by the free (or at least freer) market version. Technological advances such as the rise of the computer coupled with the spread of the multinationals have favoured the free market and counteracted earlier trends in the opposite direction.
“Western economic approaches” have only “clearly failed in capitalist nations” in the sense that every approach within capitalism must “fail” from the working-class viewpoint. From the capitalist viewpoint, they form the best option, albeit from a grim bunch. The fact that capitalism has reached this point, after a period in which it seemed that clamping the market a la USSR was a good thing, strengthens yet further the case for Socialism.
The mess in Russia and eastern Europe Is greatly aggravated because the switch to the free market has been so long delayed. Cuba seems fated to go the same way, but China with a more liberal economy, may yet escape the worst. Any attempt to restore the status quo ante is foredoomed and will simply recreate again the situation which caused the crash in the first place. Significantly it is the Russian fascists who have come closest to advocating such a reactionary policy. Otherwise it has merely been a case of slowing down the pace of reform.
That is not to say that clamping the market cannot temporarily benefit many workers. What is being said is that, in the longer term, such economies are highly likely to be undercut by those who haven’t clamped the market, with all the devastation this result may bring with it.
Lytham St. Annes
Thank you for printing my letter about abortion. May I correct a couple of printing mistakes. I wrote “Not priests, doctors, nor even her partner should have more rights over her body than she has herself.” Unfortunately you missed out the word “body”.
Also the book I recommended is “The Sceptical Feminist“, by Janet Richards, not the “Socialist” Feminist.