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Communism and a corporation of the commons…

February 1st, 2016 · No Comments

Debates over market socialism are mostly turgid (on both sides). We sallied forth several times from pure communist axioms to the wilds of market socialism infested with capitalist headhunters. The general point is that logically markets and capitalism are independent ideas, and thus communism and the market are also two different things (independent ideas), or could be, and could in theory exist together with the issue of ownership in a new mode, i.e. the commons. Note that a very distant cousin already exists under capitalism: the corporation with a board of directors replaces or oversees the owner/entrepreneur, but it doesn’t renounce profits or the capital market. The latter would also be open to remorphing. If money is still in the socialist mix here, then this corporate would obviously not want to lose money, and the issue of capital would do a costume change to a change of labels: investment can proceed as before or not, or else… This situation could proceed either with or without/beyond markets.
These are merely logical exercises: the reality would be problematical, perhaps, but the current reality is the most problematical, so we are ahead from the start…
Thus logically we see that under communism ownership could devolve to the general public, not just a group of stockholders, save as reps for that public, and the functioning of entrepreneurial factors reborn could proceed on analogous lines.
From this any number of variants are possible, but the point is that in the context of a planetary crisis a corporate entity could no longer scofflaw the issues of, say, carbon deliquency. Agents of the commons would have under communist axioms the right and duty to override such scofflaw action.

I think these approaches are essential even if we make the assumption that pure undiluted communism is the last and true option. We can’t expect that however to simply occur without some kind of transition, unless the calamity to come is so severe that total recreation of economies from rubble is the only option.
Market socialism has often been too closely defined and thus set up as a straw man. But the permutations of the idea are almost limitless. And a fertile ground for a transitional set of hybrids.

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