chapter  23
17 Pages

Lewis L. Lorwin’s “Five-Year Plan for the World”

A subsumed class response to the crises of the 1930s
ByClaude Misukiewicz

The encounter between Lewis L. Lorwin of the Brookings Institution and Valerian V. Obolensky-Ossinsky of the Soviet Union's State Planning Commission was the climax of the World Social Economic Planning Congress, which met in Amsterdam, August 23–29, 1931. Marxian class analysis shows that individuals may participate in multiple class and non-class processes, rather than belonging to a single group. The culmination of Lorwin's address was a "Five-Year Plan for the World", probably the only proposal of its time that attempted to address both the Depression and worsening international tensions through international economic planning. Most economic debate centers on how to reform the capitalist class processes in ways that promote desired combinations of fairness, opportunity, prosperity, or other goals. In contrast to Lorwin's approach, Stephen A. Resnick and Richard D. Wolff's reformulation of Marxian theory understands class struggle as contention over class processes rather than conflicts among groups.