[OPE-L] Non equilibrium

From: Alejandro Agafonow (alejandro_agafonow@YAHOO.ES)
Date: Sat Apr 21 2007 - 06:42:39 EDT

Kindly for Cockshott, Jerry and Jurriaan
>>I think that the Austrian predilection for the individual entrepreneur reflects a fixation with an early stage of capitalism […] For decades the a large fraction of  these have been produced and designed by the great Japanese kieretsu's like Mitsui, Nissan etc. These have completely out competed consumer goods produced by companies headed by individual entrepreneurs. The latter are restricted to the production of small niche markets making luxury goods for the rich […] When socialists propose models of economic organisation for a future society what they have to measure up against are these sort of organisations, not small mittleres Europa family firms of the type that seem to have formed the conceptual model of the Austrian school.<<
When Austrians talk about entrepreneurs don’t mean the small form of business organization. Entrepreneurship is an alertness condition that impels producer to forecast future prices better than their competitors. Please, consider the following quotation from Ludwig von Mises:
In any real and living economy every actor is always an entrepreneur and speculator; the people taken care of by the actors —minor family members in the market society and the masses of a socialist society— are, although themselves not actors and therefore not speculators, affected by the outcome of the actors’ speculations […] The term entrepreneur as used by catallactic theory means: acting man exclusively seen from the aspect of the uncertainty inherent in every action. In using this term one must never forget that every action is embedded in the flux of time and therefore involves a speculation. The capitalists, the landowners, and the laborers are by necessity speculators. So is the consumer in providing for anticipated future needs. There’s many a slip ’twixt cup and lip. (pp. 252-249) Ludwig von Mises, Human Action. A Treatise On Economics, 4th Revised Edition, Bettina Bien Greaves [1949] 1966.
We –market socialists– think market economies have proved the possibility to keep the Entrepreneurship alertness even in absence of privet property, due to the principal-agent relations embedded in the stockholders forms of management organization. Keiretsu’s are groups of firms associated with a main bank that monitors their management and assigns loans. The criterion to do this is the same used in western form of capitalism or the 2th post-war USSR: profitability. A high degree of market concentration and large scale production like Keiretsu’s or Microsoft has not makes us think in the absence of competition. We just have to guarantee that non-market entry barriers impede rivalry.
I send you herewith a paper that considers the Keiretsu case in the light of market socialism: John Roemer, “The Morality and Efficiency of Market Socialism”, Ethic, Vol. 102, Nº 3, (Apr. 1992)
Dear Cockshot, you try to replicate some form of rivalry in your model, aren’t you?
>>While it's true that in capitalist society, the primary data are on _some_ people's mind, most people are only dimly and incompletely aware of that data and its meaning […] How are workers in a socialist society made aware of the primary data? Isn't there the possibility of information overload?  Alternatively, if data is selectively disseminated, isn't there the possibility of a technocratic elite emerging?<<
In a very simplified form, the data to produce the right use values are: consumers’ preferences and technical knowledge. If we accept the scarcity of resources we then have to choice the most efficient technological mix according to different criterion depending on the king of value theory you accept. According to a sort labour theory: technological mix that most saves marginal labour time consumption. According to subjective theory: technological mix that most saves marginal accounting cost or produces the grater marginal accounting profit.
Which data are primary? Consumers’ preferences. Why? Because in absence of these data we can’t calculate. These data are the fires proof of our success in the production of the right use values.
I interpret that by primary data you are meaning the second one: technical knowledge. Am I right?
>>A society governed by workers  state doesn't merely take the place of stockholders.  The main issue concerns workers' empowerment and democratic decision-making rather than merely determining the optimal allocation of  resources. Social need, rather than merely efficiency, must guide social decisions.<< 04/19/2007
Even though some market socialist (like Karl Polanyi) thought in an economy in the hand of cooperatives dealing with democratic decision-making inside the firm, others marketed, like me, prefers to think that we don’t have to privilege a single form of firm organization. In that case we wrongly limit the organizational mix alternatives. The criterion to judge the success of a firm organization has to be profitability.
I don’t mean we have to renounce the workers’ empowerment. It depends on the welfare regime (Gösta Esping-Andersen) we choose to guarantee a reasonable standard of life independently of workers’ productive status.
>>What Paul Cockshott et al. really mean by a statistical equilibrium, is a constancy or stability in income & wealth distribution, which persists regardless of the pattern of transactions in economic exchange. The constancy or stability is defined in terms of lack of quantitative change.<<
I think Jurriaan has a dual idea of C&C equilibrium. One side concerning income and wealth distribution, where the lack of quantitative change is a virtue due to ethical objective of securing the better mix of negative and positive freedom.
The other side of equilibrium can’t presuppose lack of quantitative change due to the natural and human phenomenon of primary data: needs or consumers’ preferences evolve along life cycle. Even different periods of time imply a technological restriction that changes and modifies our possibility to satisfy new preferences and new ways to satisfy old ones.
Best regards for all,
Alejandro Agafonow

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