Freitag, 9. November 2012

Leszek Kołakowski : In Stalin's Countries: Theses on Hope and Despair (1971)

Leszek Kołakowski : In Stalin's Countries: Theses on Hope and Despair (1971)

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" Democratization "  Inconceivable

What is usually called the " democratization " of the system of government is inconceivable within this model.  In fact, political despotism and the ruling apparatus monopoly of the utilization of the means of production, of investments, of the use and distribution of the national income, are each conditioned by the other.

 The political monopoly which the ruling oligarchy maintains is based on its position as the only user and administrator of the means of production.  This is why all real movement, however imperfect, in the direction of political democracy signifies a partial expropriation of the ruling class which, without being juridically the proprietor of the means of production, possesses all the privileges and rights of a collective owner.

 In this fundamental area, any impairment of the principle is only so in appearance: one can authorize the commissions of a Parliament, itself designated by the party apparat, to debate the details of economic policy.  The decisions, in any case, are taken by the same bodies which are
not subject to any social control. 

Even if these decisions are far from the desires expressed in the discussions -- even if this fact is quite obvious -- this can have no importance: it cannot lead to the exertion of social pressure on these bodies, because information is subjected to severe control.

Thus, all attempts at reform outlined by the economists are doomed to failure, because they tend to weaken appreciably the monopoly of economic decisions held by the ruling apparat and threaten the latter with partial expropriation.

Vicious Circle of Information

The natural tendency of the system is to constantly reduce the role of the experts, particularly with regard to economic, social and cultural policy.  Expert circles are tolerated on the condition that they do not claim the right of decision. 

But, even in this purely consultative function, experience shows that they are tolerated with reluctance.  So far as this is possible, they are liquidated or replaced by bodies whose members are chosen in accordance with the criterion of political docility.

This is why blundering, the waste of social energy and material resources, and mediocrity are in a sense incorporated into the governmental mechanism and cannot be considered as temporary faults capable of being corrected.


Leszek Kołakowski : In Stalin's Countries: Theses on Hope and Despair (1971)

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