Re-Envisioning Socialism


Author : Prabhat Patnaik

9788189487966 | PB | pp. 284 | 2012 | Tulika Books

The quest for human freedom requires a transcendence of capitalism. What is important, however, is the overall vision that we have of the socialism that will emerge, one which accords centrality to human freedom.

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The papers in this volume are informed by a perception that can be summarized as follows. A capitalist economy is a self-driven or ‘spontaneous’ system. State intervention in its functioning, driven by political compulsions, tends to make it dysfunctional. This necessitates either further interventions, leading to a transcendence of the system itself, or a progressive slide-back to the pre-intervention state. To say this is not to suggest that capitalism does not need the state. It does, not only for the maintenance of capitalist property relations and for providing it with the external, precapitalist surroundings that are necessary for its functioning but also for accelerating, through its intervention, its immanent tendencies. But state intervention that is contrary to its immanent tendencies makes capitalism dysfunctional, setting up a dialectics either of subversion of or subservience to the logic of capital. It follows that all the shibboleths of capitalism, namely freedom, democracy and individual subjectivity, are actually unachievable under capitalism. They can be realized only if the spontaneity of the economic terrain is broken through the coming into being of socialism, where the nature of property relations is such that people can shape their economic lives through collective political intervention. The case for socialism arises precisely because capitalism is not a malleable but a spontaneous system.

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Prabhat Patnaik




Tulika Books





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About the Author

Prabhat Patnaik is professor emeritus of economics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He is the author of Accumulation and Stability under Capitalism (1997), The Retreat to Unfreedom (2003) and The Value of Money (2008).


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