The Possibility of Limiting Economic Growth and Scientific-Technological Development in Socialism  Cover Image
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Problem możliwości limitowania wzrostu gospodarczego i rozwoju naukowo-technicznego
The Possibility of Limiting Economic Growth and Scientific-Technological Development in Socialism

Author(s): Tomasz Woźniak
Subject(s): Social Sciences
Published by: Instytut Filozofii i Socjologii Polskiej Akademii Nauk
Keywords: socialism; capitalism; possibilities to limit economic growth and scientific-technological development

Summary/Abstract: A fast devastation of natural environment, wasteful exploitation of natural resources and accumulation of technological dangers is now taking place on the global scale. It seems to be impossible to counter-act these processes without executing a controlled slow down of economic growth and scientific-technological development. In this article I examine the possibilities to limit growth in socialism - defined as a system where private property plays small role and economy is directed mainly with the use of command and control methods. I discuss in turn: the determinants which make deliberate slow down of economic growth in socialism unlikely; the difficulties of central coordination of economy in the condition of limited growth; and factors which support the politics of near zero growth in socialism. I also compare socialism with capitalism and propose that policy of near zero growth is somewhat more probable in the first of these social orders. In the last section of this article I argue that a return of socialism is a real eventuality: 1. Accumulation of civilizational dangers pushes the state to expand which in turn makes the control of many spheres of social life more and more tightly. 2. Capitalism is destabilized by the fast growth of social inequalities on the global scale, especially in rich countries. 3. Foreign debt of United States is huge and it is still growing which makes the breakdown of its economy (and consequently a world-wide slump) more and more probable. Realisation of this scenario would lead to serious de-legitimisation of capitalism. It is hard to guess weather socialism can return before the devastation of natural environment, exploitation of natural resources and mounting technological dangers make it impossible. It is now probable, that soon we can expect the emergence of social order that will be in many ways similar to that which existed before the era of industrialisation.

  • Issue Year: 184/2007
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 75-106
  • Page Count: 31
  • Language: Polish