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New Left Review I/5, September-October 1960


Harry Hanson

Socialism and Affluence

As traditionally, and—I think—correctly understood, the purpose of socialism may be defined as follows:

“That the government, democratically responsible to the electorate, should assume ownership of the ‘commanding heights’ of the economy and, in association with subsidiary agencies of a democratic character, take effective control of the economy as a whole; that it should use the power thus obtained (a) to ensure a rapid development of total productivity in accordance with certain centrally-decided priorities, (b) to redistribute both income and leisure in favour of the ‘under-privileged’ and (c) to place greater emphasis than is possible in a society where the main criterion of economic decision is private profit on the provision of communal facilities designed to raise the general level of material and cultural well-being.”

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