History of Market Socialism
Published in Irish Communist in 1970
In 1965 a debate between Yang Chien pai and Tsai Chien hua appeared in a publication called Economic Research.No.1 which was noted by the Irish Communist at the time and parts of it were published in that journal in 1970.
In view of later developments in China after 1978 this article retains its relevance has a critique of the anti Marxist political economists like Yang Chien pai emerging at that time. He was a forerunner of the Chinese Market Socialists of the 1970' and 1980's.
Tsai Chien hua wrote an article called "Refuting the Production Price Theory of Comrade Yang Chien pai and others".
"Comrade Yang Chien-pai and others seem to have realised that their method of analysis, which entirely ignore production relations, is utterly incompatible with Marxism.
Consequently they have no alternative but to camoflage their own point of view point by superficially acknowledging that "the formation of price is decided by certain production relations ". However after the explanation was made, the so called production relations disappeared once and for all.
The production relations they talk about are merely this: socialised large scale economy" also comprises the production relationship, that is mens labor relationship in the process of production".
This can only be called a perverse arguement. Socialist large scale economy is in fact another way to present socialised large scale production.
It lies in the category of production power.The usual presentation bought forward by classical Marxist writers in analysing the contradictions between capitalist production relations and production power is the contradiction between the socialisation of production and the private ownership of means of production.
If we follow Comrade Yang Chien pai logic, would his not become a contradiction between production relations and production relations ? To cover up the mistake by stealthily substituing one concept for another can only make the matter worse."
This practice of confusing productive relations and productive forces has became a standard device of modern revisionism. It has been a device of Trotskyism since the 1930's. When trotskyism equate nationalisation and socialism what it is doing in effect is equating the socialisation of production (of the productive forces) with socialist production relations.
The social character of production, the social inderdependence of all production must continuously develop in a modern economy, capitalist or socialist . But the social character of the production relations is far from being the same thing as socialist production relations . Even though production is social it is not necessarily owned by the working class. And even when certain spheres of social production are collectively owned by the capitalist class (nationalised) they are still not owned by the working class.
Summing up his position Tsai says :
" To preach equal rate of profit and production price theory in socialist economy, to determine price, and to use the rate of profit as a criterion of investment as as a measure of management efficiency are to let profit guide all economic activities, to substitute the purpose of capitalist production for the purpose of socialist production, to replace socialist economic doctrine with capitalist economic principles.
To preach equal rate of profit and production price theory in socialist economy, to determine price, and to use the rate of profit as a criterion of investment as as a measure of management efficiency are to let profit guide all economic activities, to substitute the purpose of capitalist production for the purpose of socialist production, to replace socialist economic doctrine with capitalist economic principles.
Should we adopt the production price theory, all socialist enterprises would turn into capitalist enterprises and socialism would degenerate into capitalism."