The Philosophy and Economics of Market Socialism: A Critical by N. Scott Arnold

By N. Scott Arnold

N. Scott Arnold argues that the main defensible model of a industry socialist economy will be not able to achieve broadly held socialist beliefs and values. particularly, it might be liable for common and systematic exploitation. The cost of exploitation, that's fairly a cost of injustice, has in general been made opposed to capitalist platforms by means of socialists. This booklet argues that it really is marketplace socialism--the basically last workable kind of socialism--that is systematically exploitative.

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16 One could make a case in favor of a certain type of economic system without offering any criticism of an alternative type of system. On the other hand, in the context of this dispute, there does seem to be a pragmatic presupposition to the effect that at least some of the virtues of the good society attributable to the favored type of economic system are absent in the alternative type. If these virtues were present in the other type of system, then, in making their positive case, these 22 The Philosophy and Economics of Market Socialism theorists would not be giving us reasons to believe that one system ought, or ought not, to be replaced by the alternative.

Economists should realize that the philosophical aspects of this dispute are less straightforward and more complicated and difficult than they might have supposed but also that these issues are not wholly intractable. Philosophers, on the other hand, need to recognize that there are empirical constraints on conceptions of the good society and that questions about how economic systems actually function cannot be abstracted from or ignored and, indeed, must be systematically investigated. This distinction between the philosophy and economics components corresponds in a rough way to the distinction economists draw between normative and positive questions or issues.

How could one know that some unspecified vice could not be traced to the type-defining features of the favored economic system, especially if, as seems reasonable to suppose, the favored type does not as yet exist anywhere? The most obvious solution is to look to the theory of the good society for 30 The Philosophy and Economics of Market Socialism an exhaustive catalogue of all social vices. The problem with this suggestion is that a complete theory of the good society is probably something very few participants in this dispute have.

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