What Socialism Can and Can’t Do

Socialism seeks to transform societies and persons, bringing them to a higher stage of social justice and personal and ethical responsibility than is possible under capitalist economic systems.  Can it do so?  My experiences living and working in both the United States and Cuba, nations emblematic of advanced capitalism and Third World socialism, have enabled me to discern what socialism can and cannot do.

On the basis of study of the socialist projects in the world and the contradictions of the world-system, I have arrived to a reformulation of Marx’s understanding of the stages of economic and social development in human history.  In my view, at the present historic juncture, we are in the early moments of a stage of global transition to socialism.  At the present time, socialist movements have taken political power in seven nations East Asia and Latin America.  The seven states seeking to construct socialism have important allies among other states, and they have relations with many states.  However, the great majority of nations continue to have capitalist political economies, and the world-economy is driven principally by a capitalist logic.  The core states of the capitalist world-economy, which are in North America and Western Europe, direct the world-economy in accordance with their imperialist interests, thus imposing global structural constraints on the economic development of the declared socialist nations.  In addition, the core states seek to…

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