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  1. The main problem I had with this debate is that I don’t think either one of our opponents is a real socialist. What they were defending was welfare liberalism/social democracy combined with worker cooperatives. Basically, the same system we have now except workers “own” their corporations (like Mondragon) or where unions run state-owned industries (like the police, firefighters, and public schools). That’s John Stuart Mill, not Marx. Socialism is the idea that the “anarchy of production” (Marx) of the market should be replaced with an attempt to collectively or cooperatively plan the economy in a way that involves the ostensible rationalization of production and resource allocation through needs assessment, with the result being the abolition of the law of value.

    Thirty-plus years ago when I was in the IWW and WSA, every self-identified socialist I knew would have agreed with the definition of socialism I described above, regardless of their affiliation: Marxists, Leninists, Stalinists, Trotskyists, Maoists, Castroists, Hoxhaists, DeLeonists, Luxembourgists, councilists, guildists, participists, pareconomists, Bordigists, Eurocommunists, Green socialists, anarcho-communists, syndicalists, autonomists, etc. etc. The partial exception would have been those tendencies that held to some kind of “market socialism” like Oskar Lange, or mutualists like Proudhon, Georgists, and individualist-anarchists like Tucker, most of whom were considered to be only reformists, proto-socialists, or socialist-leaning libertarians. It was always recognized that social democrats are advocates of welfare capitalism and that worker-owner corporations are what Ludwig von Mises called “workers capitalism.”

    What I was prepared to argue was whether the definition of socialism above, where capital markets and the supply and demand pricing system was abolished, was compatible with consistent innovation, as opposed to being a highly inefficient, haphazard system that would engage in subsistence production in a way that was static, and with innovation being limited and selective (like it was under feudalism). But they didn’t seem to operating within the same definition of what socialism is.

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