Socialism and Science

"Socialism and Science," A Lecture delivered to The Economic Society of Australia and New Zealand on October 19, 1976.


“Socialism is related to Science in various ways. Probably the least interesting relation today is that from which Marxism  lays claim to the name of “scientific socialism”; and according to which by an inner necessity, and without men doing anything about it, capitalism develops into socialism. This may still impress some novices, but it is hardly any longer taken seriously by competent thinkers in either camp. Socialists certainly do not act as if they believe that the transition from capitalism to socialism will be brought about by an ineluctable law of social evolution. Few people now believe in the existence of any “historical laws.”

Experience has certainly refuted the predictions Marx made concerning the particular developments of capitalism.

There is, secondly, the undeniable propensity of scientifically trained minds, as well as of engineers, to prefer a deliberately created orderly arrangement to the results of spontaneous growth—an influential and widespread attitude, which frequently attracts intellectuals to socialist schemes. This is a widespread and important phenomena which has had a profound effect on the development of political thought. However, I have already on several occasions discussed the significance of these attitudes, calling them “scientism” and “constructivism” respectively, so that it is unnecessary to revert to these questions.”