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Quora Answer : If you are an evolutionary socialist, can you please state your views? Do we have any evolutionary socialists on Quora?

Jan 27, 2018

I don't know if I'm an "evolutionary socialist" in your terms.

I am a socialist who is :

a) not a revolutionary. And I explain a bit of what I disagree with here : OnRevolution

b) not an authoritarian. And I explain why I am a "libertarian socialist" here : LibertarianLeft

but also

c) not a centre-left, liberal, social democrat etc.

Now quite a lot of the time I'm quite like a liberal, social democrat, centre-left. So much so that you probably wouldn't notice the difference.

What makes me more radical is that I believe fundamentally that there are positive feedback loops inherent in the particular economic system we have at the moment (and which I'm happy to label "capitalism" while noting that some people take issue with this use of that terminology) which means that accumulation by the rich will always spiral out of control, leading to instability and collapse of the economic order we have.

I believe that there is no liberal / social democratic accommodation to be made with "capital" whereby you leave it alone and simply skim off a bit of redistributive taxation to solve society's problems. Leave the mechanisms of accumulation intact and eventually large clusters of wealth will aggregate which exert so much economic and political "gravity" that they will disrupt everything else and destroy your social democrat or liberal consensus.

Now, I'm happily convinced that individual initiative, private enterprise, markets, some private property etc. are all good things, necessary for us to live free, happy and productive lives, and things we have no idea how to do without. And so just getting rid of them in a naive way is dangerously wrong-headed.

I am also certain that we do have to dismantle those positive feedback loops to create economies that are long-term sustainable and which work for everyone. And deliver those free, happy and productive lives.

How we dismantle those loops and what we replace them with, I think is still an open question. Of course, I have some suggestions. But I accept that if we try them in practice we'd still need to look at their results and navigate accordingly.

In fact, rather than seeing myself as a "revolutionary socialist" or a "gradualist" or "evolutionary socialist" I prefer to think of myself as an "agile socialist".

So, I admit it, I'm basically a software guy. And I see the challenge of creating a new political and economic order and its institutions as a parallel to engineering a new technological ecosystem of various products.

As an "agilist" I believe that the best (and fastest) way to create a new system that's what you actually want, is via many small, incremental steps, paying attention to the results and correcting as you go. And I think this is the way to move from today's capitalism to a system that is more in line with my socialist ideals.

Of course, while that's the correct way from an "engineering" perspective, it's also particularly difficult politically. You need both general public support and wise and committed statesmen / stateswomen to try to make it work. That's a tough ask. But then I'm not convinced any system can run all that well without general public support and wise and committed statesmen / stateswomen to run it.

See also :

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