By Stanley Moore
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Extra info for Marx on the Choice between Socialism and Communism
A In the third volume of Capital Marx writes that in precapitalist economies commodities normally exchange at prices proportionate to their labor costs. And in the first volume he writes of precapitalist social formations: In the ancient Asiatic, the antique, and similar modes of production, transformation of products into commodities and men into commodity producers plays a subordinate role-though this grows more significant as these communities approach their dissolution .... In comparison with capitalist society, these old social organisms of production are far more simple and transparent.
A classless economy of this type-combining markets with planning-is now called market socialism. To examine the cormection between socialism and fetishism is to cut beneath the surface of Marx's argument. The claim that every type of socialism would be free from fetishism is indefensible. Yet qualifying this 68 Chapter Six claim to render it defensible results in opposing the two long-range predictions which the argument of Capital conftates. The type of socialism required for Marx's discussion of commodity fetishism is that of the Critique: the type appropriate for his discussion of capitalist accumulation is that of the Manifesto.
Their shared ostensible neutrality invites conflating the two predictions. Marx predicts the disappearance of commodity fetishism in a passage that recalls some themes of philosophical communism. In what seems a digression from his central argument, he contrasts the types of religious belief characteristic of capitalist and precapitalist cultures. Nature worship corresponds to stages in the development of the forces of production where men's relations to one another and to nature are restricted within narrow limits.