Part 4 divides itself into three main sections. In the first we shall consider some ideas and experiences of a transition from a developed or semi-developed capitalist society. In the second, the question of how to move from Soviet-type ‘socialism’ towards something more acceptable (‘socialism with a human face’, if one would like a familiar label). In the third section I shall take up the issue of ‘developmental socialism’, but not at the length which the subject doubtless deserves, and this for the following reason. ‘Developmental socialism’ is bound to be underdeveloped ‘socialism’, geared to the task of modernisation of the productive structure. This could be held to apply to Stalin’s Russia, of course. As we saw, the French socialist thinker Charles Bettelheim thought that the Bolsheviks were guilty of the deviation which he called ‘economism’, which consisted of believing that the basic task was to develop the forces of production and that this would lead to socialism, whereas in his view, Mao’s China was proving that a correct class line would enable even a very backward country to build socialism. Priority, he thought, should be given to class struggle and cultural revolution. Subsequent developments in China have shaken Bettelheim’s beliefs, except of course that he was right in one respect: economic

growth in no way guarantees the triumph of socialism, even if the government is in the hands of a party which claims to be building it. Marx long ago, and correctly, pointed out that a share-poverty ‘socialism’ is bound to be an abortion, that if one shared out poverty then soon things would return to ‘the same old rubbish’. Engels, in a famous passage, wrote that ‘the worst thing that can befall a leader of an extreme party is to be compelled to take over the government in an epoch when the movement is not yet ripe for the domination of the class he represents’.1 From this sit follows that he believed, rightly, that material abundance, or at least an end to penury, was a sine qua non, a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for any sort of socialism that he could envisage. As I suggested at the very beginning of this book, economic development in the name of socialism has had strong attractions for many in the Third World, for reasons we can or should understand. However, in the ‘constructive’ final part of this book I shall be concerned with ‘feasible socialism’ in an industrialised, modern country.