Of, by, and for the profit

The premise of democratic socialism is not that market economics must end but that the market is not the end. Rather, it is a means to serve collective human ends. The market is a technology that, like any other technology, must be controlled by human agency. Even in capitalism, notwithstanding the ideology of free market fundamentalism, the market turns out to be a means, too — for the concentration of wealth and power. In socialism, by contrast, the end is a universally shared distribution of wealth and power, which requires a distinction between those who profit most in the market and those who determine the rules governing society. Without such a check on power, the market technology becomes a weapon by which the prevailing few oppress the rest.

In the United States, such a distinction has nominally existed because in theory most citizens are free to vote for representatives who are not necessarily beholden to concentrated wealth, at least since political rights expanded beyond propertied white men and until Trump dispensed with the pretense of a separation between political rule and personal profit. But even during this apparent interregnum, the holders of concentrated wealth wielded the power they had accumulated from a history of dominance to make democratic control over society merely a formality, through a wide variety of underhanded tactics including but by no means limited to the repression of socialist ideas, the disenfranchisement of African Americans, and the financing of political campaigns.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s