Red plenty

Posted on May 12, 2022

There is this online 12 year old discussion between Spufford and Cockshott on non-market economies and what-could-have-been in the USSR. Even if we could plan the economy to perfection, and this is a big if, I am not convinced it would lead to the kind of freedom most socialists have in mind. Ultimately, human salvation lies in the conditions of production, or as Aristotle would put it in his oft-quoted passage “There is only one condition in which we can imagine managers not needing subordinates, and masters not needing slaves. This condition would be that each (inanimate) instrument could do its own work, at the word of command or by intelligent anticipation, like the statues of Daedalus or the tripods made by Hephaestus…”. According to Graeber, the first slaves were used to help with house chores and the raising of children (rather than mines or large production facilities), which kind of implies that recovering our innocence (to the extend that it can be done) would require an almost complete automation of domestic labour.