Re: [OPE-L] Non equilibrium

From: Jerry Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Sun Apr 22 2007 - 08:27:02 EDT

Hi Alejandro:

A few questions and/or points [look for *]:

[In a very simplified form, the data to produce the right use values are: consumersí 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.]

*  Is it efficiency that is to be optimized or social well-being?
The most efficient technological solution to a problem is not
necessarily or ordinarily the best social solution.  

[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.]

* The LTV is a theory which purports to explain the
underlying dynamic of capitalism; it is not simply a 
"tool" which can be utilized by socialist policy-makers.

[Which data are primary? Consumersí preferences. Why? Because in absence of these 
data we canít calculate. ]

* So consumer preferences are to be treated as data and a given?  Well, of course, 
we know that consumer preferences have been shaped and manufactured to a great extent 
under late capitalism by firm advertising and marketing.  Will there be no social institutions
under socialism which will help to shape and reproduce consumer preferences?

[> I interpret that by primary data you are meaning the second one: technical knowledge. Am I right?]

* Insofar as we're talking about the primary data required by consumers in a market,
the data concerns prices and qualities.  If  products were standardized, then technical
knowledge on the latter would be relatively easy to disseminate.  If products are
differentiated by "socialist firms" then what would be the mechanism by which 
workers are informed about the different characteristics and qualities of products?

* I also think that workers must come to think "holistically" about consumer choices:
this requires knowledge about the possible effects of their choices on the overall
character of society and the environment.  This is also a problem for _production_ 
decisions by individual enterprises: recall the problem of "internalities" in Eastern 
Europe and elsewhere discussed by Janos Kornai and others.

[>>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 donít 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.]

* That is the _capitalist_ criterion for success.  If we want to surpass 
capitalism, then profitability as the guiding criteria for the decision-
making of productive units has to be surpassed as well.

In solidarity, Jerry

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