Historical Triumph: Capitalism or Socialism?


  • Vicente Navarro




Marxism, Political Economy


Thank you very much for inviting me to comment on the issue, widely debated today, of the assumed superiority of capitalism over socialism. The mainstream media bombard us day after day with the message that the historical conflict between these two approaches to human social development has already been resolved in favor of capitalism. This message is even heard in some sectors of the left in this country: Robert Heilbroner, a political economist who is left-of-center by U.S. standards, wrote recently in the New Yorker (Jan. 23, 1989) that "less than 75 years after it officially began, the contest between capitalism and socialism is over: capitalism has won." Almost at the same time, Lester Thurow, a liberal political economist who advises the Democratic Party and the AFL-CIO, wrote in The New York Times that he did not know "of any major American intellectual or economist…who has called for government ownership of the means of production in the last 40 years" (March 15, 1989).

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