6 - Beyond capitalism?
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 November 2011
Yes, when the whole world from Paris to China
O godlike Saint-Simon, has accepted your teachings,
The golden age will return in all its splendor,
The rivers will run cocoa, tea,
Sheep will gambol ready roasted in the fields
Poached fish will swim in the Seine
Spinach will grow pre-fricasseed
With breadcrumbs all around
The trees will bear stewed apples
We will harvest vegetables by the bunch
It will snow wine, rain chicken
Ducks will fall from heaven à l'orange.Lauglé and Vanderbusch Louis et le Saint-Simonien (1832)
Man has always dreamed of utopian societies and, in a few instances, all of which failed, has even tried to implement these dreams in experimental societies. Despite Marx's denunciation of utopian socialism, there was nevertheless a utopian strain in his thinking, as demonstrated in his 1844 Paris Manuscripts. Utopianism, however, is not limited to socialist or Marxian schemas. In a real sense, the pure theory of competitive capitalism is the biggest utopian dream of them all.
Modern socialism, moreover, at least in the West, bases its ultimate hope for liberation on the technology pioneered by liberal and advanced capitalist societies. Early Russian anarchists, of course, would have none of this. They were “Believers without God, Heroes without phrases,” ever-prepared to leapfrog the dialectic into utopia. Even among confirmed Marxists there were those who, like Lenin and even Rosa Luxemburg, were at bottom hardheaded pragmatists quite prepared to trim their Marxian sails when the revolutionary potential suddenly and unexpectedly became a reality.
- Capitalism and Catastrophe , pp. 98 - 114Publisher: Cambridge University PressPrint publication year: 1979