Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Practical Problems For Socialists: What About The Sole?

We Reds have a bad habit of describing grandiose, generalized visions of the glorious socialist future, but fall on our faces when someone asks basic questions about day- to- day existence in that future. Like, "May I drive a car?" Or, " What kind of house will I live in?"
Here's a little thought exercise for the comrades out there. What to do about the sole. And I'm talking about the fish, not the spiritual item.
Currently, the Dover Sole is the most sought after flatfish on the seafood market. The price per pound is usually about $32.00. This is due to demand, the relative scarcity of the fish ( it's only habitat is in the English channel ), and the cost of the labor of the fishermen who catch it. In order to make a profit a seafood distributor has to cover these costs and then gouge the customer. How would a socialist economy make this tasty commodity available to the general public? Would it make what is essentially a luxury available at all?


Anonymous said...

As I understand socialism, where the worker owns and controls the means with which he produces, the only thing that has changed between a capitalist fishing enterprise and a socialist one is that the fisherman or fishing cooperative is in control of the pricing decision. The fundamental question remains an economic one, what is the pricing point at which we can continue to fish sole while allowing them to replenish themselves for future use, assuming we want to maintain a going concern? Or would it be preferable to simply underprice the fish and render it extinct, making a lot of money quickly today and nothing tomorrow? The current fishing industry is already choosing the latter, as are a number of capitalist endeavors that utilize finite or potentially finite resources.

I'd like to think that a socialist fisherman, with a stake in his own future work and receiving the profit for that work, would make the economically and ecologically sound decision to charge the market out the nose for sole so he can both get by as a fisherman today, and retain an economic niche tomorrow.

comrade x said...

Good answer.