Democracy, Plan, and Market

Yakov Kronrod's Political Economy of Socialism

David Mandel

ibidem Press

Democracy, Plan, and Market

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Pub Date: September 2017

ISBN: 9783838211084

140 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $30.00

Pub Date: September 2017

ISBN: 9783838270081

140 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $19.99

Democracy, Plan, and Market

Yakov Kronrod's Political Economy of Socialism

David Mandel

ibidem Press

This is the first book in English to present a succinct overview of the influential work of the Russian economist Yakov Abramovich Kronrod (1912–1984) on the political economy of socialism. Kronrod headed the theoretical section of the Institute of Economics of the Academy of the USSR in the 1970s until the authorities decided that his ideas were dangerous, banning Kronrod's publications until his death in 1984. Kronrod argued that while national ownership and democracy are the dominant relations of socialism, commodity-market relations nevertheless have an important role to play in the planned economy. This revelatory book includes the first translation of one of Kronrod's key essays, "Socio-oligarchism—Pseudo-Socialism of the Twentieth Century," and introduces Kronrod's thought to the English-speaking world for the first time.
Since Marx's dismissal of tinkering with the "cook-shops of the future," socialists have largely set aside what socialism might actually look like. But with the defeats and integration of the working class into capitalism, the parallel defeats of the left and the failed attempts at alternatives to capitalism through the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, a powerful sentiment to 'naturalize' capitalism has taken hold—there is, even critics assume, no other way to organize a complex, developed society. In this context, convincing others that capitalism is not the end of history demands a return to defending the plausibility of a socialist society. David Mandel's rediscovery and presentation of the work of the iconoclastic Soviet political economist Yakov Kronrod—whose grounded lessons from the failure of the Soviet experience are systematically rooted in the absence of the deepest democracy—soberly and creatively reopens this crucial question of socialism's viability. For those hoping to rejuvenate the socialist idea, Mandel's book is a timely, absolutely-must-read. Sam Gindin, author of The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire (2012)

About the Author

David Mandel teaches political science at the Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada. He has written extensively on workers and their movements in the Russian Revolution, the Soviet period, and after the collapse of the Soviet system. He has been actively involved in labor education in Russia for the past 25 years.