“I hope he is not a Marxist?” - “What are you, what are you,” Sokolnikov is in a hurry to answer, “currency management, there it’s necessary not to talk in the language, but to be able to do business.”
- Bazhanov B.G.
As part of the approach of the anniversary of the events of October 25 (November 7), 1917, I would like to write a little about socialism and what scares me in it.
So, the view of socialism of classical Marxism. Studying history, Marx came to the conclusion that the socio-economic formations were changing - the slave system was replaced by feudalism, the other by capitalism. Obviously, the formation determined the mode of production peculiar only to it. Each next formation had greater efficiency of labor. From this point of view, it is easy to imagine that capitalism will eventually disappear from history, and it will be replaced by some following socio-economic formation with even greater efficiency. Classical Marxism calls communism the next formation, and the transitional system between communism and capitalism is called socialism. In the first half of the 20th century, during the fierce political struggle of various left-wing factions, socialism and communism were divided - they began to treat socialism as a formation, although inferior, and more distant towards communism than was in the time of Marx (for Marx and Engels himself, communism and socialism were generally synonymous).
The idea of socialism and communism is actually very simple. Within the framework of capitalism at the end of the 19th century, society already produced incredibly many material benefits as compared with the beginning of the century; If we present a further increase in the efficiency of labor, it will become clear that there will be more benefits, and less labor for them. Let us recall, say, how many people worked in the USSR, and how many work in modern Russia; Recall that the New Year in the USSR was a worker at the time, as now we all enjoy a rather long weekend. This is a practical manifestation of the increase in labor efficiency. At a certain point, it will be possible without special efforts to provide all citizens with a minimum average standard of living, without demanding anything from them in return - this will allow labor efficiency. But this is not all.
Further development of technology will allow a person to practically give up his work altogether; machines can make machines just like people. Human labor goes only into the creative field. And at this moment the question of redistribution of benefits will go from the practical to the moral and ethical. There are simply so many blessings, and the price for them is so low that it is not difficult to distribute them among everyone. You may notice that in such a situation it is even necessary, since an increase in labor efficiency implies a reduction in jobs — the welfare society and unconditional income in this scenario are inevitable. I outlined a look at the question (besides velfer) of the left half of the 20th century.
As you can see, there is nothing utopian in communism or socialism. Everything is absolutely realistic - we are seeing an increase in labor efficiency even now, at relatively difficult times for the world economy. Those same 3d printers, although they are now only a toy and an indicator of the level of household technologies, will someday be used in production. Robotics is also being improved.
Since we come to the conclusion about the change of socio-economic formations, it remains only to ask a question about the sequence of their change. Marx remarks that it is always strictly enforced - the transition from slavery to capitalism or from rudimentary feudalism is impossible. Marx postulates "No social formation dies before all the productive forces develop, for which it gives enough space, and new higher production relations never appear before the material conditions of their existence mature in the depths of the oldest society." criticism of political economy. Preface, 1859). In this case, we get the following picture of the development of society - different nations start from the same position, the same stages of the primitive communal system, slavery, feudalism, capitalism pass at different speeds, and always with the complete exhaustion of each formation and a deep crisis at the end. Example. From developed countries, Japan passed the stage of destruction of feudal relations of the latter - only in 1868 began the Meiji era, the era of active industrialization and the transition to capitalism. The same events of the Western European states took place centuries earlier. It would seem that we are seeing an unnatural leap. But upon closer examination, it turns out that bourgeois relations in Japan began to take shape much earlier than the aforementioned era, many samurai were declassified (and indeed, as a class, they had already begun to cause hatred), were engaged in commerce. The overthrow of the shogunate is only an outward manifestation of the liberation of the bourgeois strata of the population from feudal oppression.
It would seem that the brilliant thoughts of Marx expressed for the mid-19th century, is not it? Although the authority of Marx is very high, I am sure that he was lucky simply because he was one of the first in his field. Say, Lavoisier discovered the law of conservation of mass, but he did not open it, the law would have been discovered by Lomonosov in a few years, and if not by him, by several other major scientists of that time. This is the beginning of any scientific discipline - its founders always make fundamental discoveries in general, of obvious things. For the rest of his teaching, Marx was often naive and showed a narrow horizon, limited by the particular problems of his era. For example, the idea that the socialization of the means of production should change society, at least to increase the efficiency of labor, was unambiguously debunked during the 20th century. In the USSR, with the formal absence of private ownership of factories, their directors enjoyed maximum benefits, and the workers were alienated not just as much, but even more than in developed countries with private owners of the means of production.
Now back to the day of November 7 and the events of a century ago. How did it happen that the socialist revolution, i.e. the transition from capitalism to the next formation, it happened in Russia? After all, capitalism in Russia for 1917 was in its infancy (frankly, it is not at the last stage even now). As a result, we come to the main ideological issue of the USSR:
- If the USSR is a socialist state, then Marx is wrong?
- If Marx is right, then the USSR is not a socialist state?
What is the way out of the difficulty? Was the USSR a socialist state, and the events of October 1917 a socialist revolution?
This question is controversial, I can only voice my opinion. The USSR was never a socialist state, because Marxism establishes a ban on socialist revolutions in countries like Russia, China, Korea, etc., namely in societies that have not reached the maximum stage of development of capitalism.
Well, at least, after reading this, you can, with reference to Marx (not anyone) say to any communist that the October revolution has no right to be called socialist and revolution in general. What will cause severe suffering in him. I think that in the book “A Devoted Revolution: What is the USSR and Where Is It Going?” L. Trotsky knowingly steadfastly calls the events of October 1917 a coup - yet Marxist theory did not allow him to call these events a revolution, at least often.
In which countries was supposed to happen a socialist revolution according to Marx? The answer is unequivocal - in the UK or Germany. The choice of countries is obvious - those states that before all have embarked on the capitalist path should go faster than others and more quickly switch to socialism and communism.
Now let's try to look at the problem of socialism and communism from the most neutral position, incl. Let's try to abandon the right / left dichotomy.
1. Was Marx right when he spoke about socio-economic formations and the sequence of their change?
Probably yes. At the very least, explicit examples of the leaping of formations on a large scale are historically unknown.
2. Ie capitalism will leave?
There is no doubt from a historical point of view. Nothing is eternal.
3. What next formation will follow?
I am sure that the best answer will be - no one knows. At the moment, to describe it, we simply use the word "socialism". Each party, each movement draws its own socialism, often using its own name for it. From the scientific point of view, there is simply no possibility of accurately describing the formation following capitalism. We can fantasize endlessly, but these will only be more or less substantiated statements. Such are sociology and political science as a science. Everything connected with a person has a significant effect of chance and circumstance. Socialism may well be socialism in the sense of a utopian paradise of the left, or it may be something completely different.
But still we know one feature of socialism. I. Theologian, fantasizing about the end of the world, gave the most vague description of the Antichrist - the number 666 (and maybe 616) that Christian fundamentalists are looking for for more than the first century. In this case, we can surpass the Theologian for the better: socialism will have a higher labor efficiency than capitalism.
That's all we know about him. If ever a state emerges that claims to have a social formation following capitalism, it suffices for us to compare the efficiency of labor there with the best capitalist country of its era. And just as the labor efficiency of the Netherlands in the 17th century exceeded the labor efficiency of any feudal state, so the labor efficiency of the socialist formation will be superior to the capitalist one.
But I will not restrain from some fantasy either. Based on the trends from the French Revolution to today, the following can be predicted about this socialism:
1. The socialist formation will be egalitarian. At the moment, in no progressive society there has been a tendency to a voluntary decrease in equality on the part of the people. We all want to enjoy equal rights. We all want to minimize the income gap in our favor. This, of course, is a little naive, since all people are not equal initially. But the pursuit of equal opportunities and an equal share of resources is very clear.
2. The socialist formation will be socially responsible. Capitalism itself is socially irresponsible, and the older it is, the higher its social responsibility becomes. Probably, social responsibility is a measure of the age of capitalism, for example, in Germany, old-age pension began to be paid in 1889, in the USA - in 1937, in the USSR in 1956 (it is possible that ideological considerations played a significant role here). This is due to labor productivity - when it becomes high enough, it becomes possible to provide non-working.
Social responsibility is inextricably linked with the recursion of humanity and a look into the future. We became aware of ourselves not only here and now (young and working), but also ourselves in the future (old and non-working). Similarly, with environmental problems - if at the initial stages of capitalism, human action on nature did not matter, at the moment a person looks more into the future, no wonder propaganda of environmental problems very often contains a rhetorical question like “what will we leave to our descendants?”.
3. The socialist formation will be democratic in the sense of self-government. Not necessarily in the sense of failure. Approaching this question, it is necessary to characterize democracy in the original sense of the word. The meaning of ancient Greek democracy was the self-government of the people, when almost every citizen performs public duties, and the supreme power is blurred between several people and is very limited in duration (for the ancient republics even the oligarchic type the standard term of authority of the ruler was 1 year). Democracy was then opposed by oligarchy — the elective or hereditary power of the rich and noble. Just what is now referred to as (representative) democracy. It is no secret that the ancient Greeks would not recognize in any modern "democratic" country of democracy. And there is nothing paradoxical here - in fact, modern democratic countries are oligarchic republics, in which the main issue in any election is the dilemma - to vote for a bad candidate or for a very bad one. Both candidates, of course, are representatives of rival oligarchic parties, which explains the enviable constancy of the number of main candidates in the elections - there are almost always two of them. It is obvious that society in most countries has already outgrown this situation, and it causes only bitter irony and irritation. People really need real democracy. It can be noted that during the evolution of democratic institutions over the last 2 centuries, they slowly but surely became more and more popular. People want to manage their affairs. Probably, the emergence of e-democracy in some future will be the first nail in the coffin of the oligarchic republic.
4. From the preceding paragraphs it follows that the socialist formation will represent the interests of the majority better than the capitalist one.
It would seem that I described a wonderful society, right? And everyone reading already wanted to get into it? Not so simple.
Going through the existing states, I remembered one that was well suited to the above:
1. Efficiency of labor.
This state was the leader in the labor efficiency of its era. His workers always worked in one shift, when the workers of his opponents worked day and night. With GDP at times less than its enemies, it fought with them for an incredibly long time.
For all representatives of the ruling nation, under the condition of following the state ideology, complete equality was ensured.
3. Social orientation.
The first welfare state is at least formally. Free technical education for everyone.
4. Representation of the interests of the majority.
Probably no state has ever so well represented the interests of its people. Especially with regard to the organization of wars of conquest, the enslavement (in the literal sense) of other nations and genocide.
If you did not guess, then we are talking about the Third Reich. Indeed, within the framework of classical Marxism, Nazi Germany suddenly fits well with the characteristics of the first attempt to build socialism - in this case, national socialism. It’s not for nothing that when choosing the name of the party A. Hitler put forward the name “Party of Socialists-Revolutionaries” in 1920. Quite a left name. In general, with the teachings of Marx, everything more or less converges - the departure from classical capitalism (compare with the USA of that era), the high efficiency of labor achieved by this departure, the expression of the will of its people. Only, alas, this will was criminal and aimed at the destruction, first of all, of those who simply did not like (Jews, mentally ill, homosexuals, etc.), and then - the enslavement of neighbors. If we reject the right / left dichotomy, alas, the Third Reich really looks like a socialist state; the left, naturally, cannot see it in it because of its own idea of socialism as an equality society, incl. equality between citizens of one country. The right, naturally, cannot see socialism in it, because right ideology is reactionary by nature, i.e. secondary Secondary in the sense of anti-follow the left. From a scientific point of view, it is logical to assume that in fact there is no right / left division, but only different approaches to the same issue. Well, a certain, though deadly logic in the history of Germany can be traced - if one nation decides to create such a better state for itself, and with such benefits for its citizens, does it make sense to share them with people who do not belong to it? In this sense, it is completely understandable why historical responsibility for the crimes of the Third Reich is imposed not only on its leadership, but also on its people. Until now, the Germans feel responsible for the horrors of World War II, and this is fully consistent with its true causes. The Third Reich expressed the criminal will of his people, therefore, this people is responsible for the crimes of the state; let us be careful in our desires.
Now, perhaps, the reader understands the title of the article. Socialism will be, no doubt about it. At the moment, countries like Finland, Sweden or Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands are probably at the very last stage of capitalism possible. Great Britain and Germany are a little behind them. And the first state that has passed to the next formation, without a doubt, will get advantages over the others. Our epoch is one of the epochs of major changes - yet changes in the socio-economic formations do not occur often. We are "lucky" to catch her, an event that occurs every few centuries. It would seem that it remains to relax and enjoy the spectacle. But the future in this case can not but cause concern. What will this socialism be? After all, the transition from feudalism to capitalism at one time caused a wave of heavy wars that lasted for decades, and both parties bore the blame for the victims.
Well, we will unite and hope for the best.