Problems in the Transition to Socialism

  • James Petras
Keywords: Marxism


The transition to socialism, as the phrase implies, is a process operating over time, not a cataclysmic event that suddenly thrusts a society from one mode of production to another. The transition period incorporates elements of the previous society, as well as the first measures aimed at fulfilling the promise of a socialist transformation. Capital and labor continue to confront each other within a mixed economy—each with its own set of responses. The problem for a socialist regime is how to mediate these conflicting demands while retaining the initiative in proceeding toward an eventual socialist transformation. In examining the problems in the transition to socialism, it is important to examine the issues raised by capital and labor and the policy options available, before proceeding to a discussion of a broad set of issues that have arisen in a number of historical cases.