Re: [OPE-L] Participatory and democratic production

From: Alejandro Agafonow (alejandro_agafonow@YAHOO.ES)
Date: Wed May 23 2007 - 11:04:21 EDT

Alec Nove. The Economic of feasible Socialsim Revisited (2º ed.), Harper Collins Academic, 1991.
“[…] one must make clear that the democratic process will not be relevant to a wide category of micro-economic decision-making. Those responsible for making pumps will not vote about where they should go. The elected assembly at the centre which will adopt a general plan for society will, of course, have neither the time nor the knowledge to concern itself with such a detail as pumps, let alone where any particular consignment should be sent […] The French radical thinker Cornelius Castoradis also has a realistic view of complexities, and has come up with an interesting notion of a ‘plan factory’ […] He points out that decision by majority vote can be positively noxious in this area of decision-making, because minorities too have the right to consumer satisfaction (in other words, it is wrong in principle to decide by, say, a majority 3:1 not to provide rye bred or classical concerts; if a significant minority desires them, they should have them, and have some means of
 ‘paying’ for them).” (pp. 41)
Dear Jerry; is the quantum of freedom gained deciding the placement of pumps justified by the efficiency loose of a democratic planning of that kind? Maybe people would be willing to place the time, otherwise consumed by the design of pumps, reading Nove's Feasible Socialism. If not, they have the possibility of becoming pumps engineers.
Nevertheless, your idea deserves to be cultivated. Don’t be discouraged by my skepticism.

Best regards,
Alejandro Agafonow

----- Mensaje original ----
De: Jerry Levy <Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM>
Enviado: miércoles, 23 de mayo, 2007 14:41:59
Asunto: Re: [OPE-L] Participatory and democratic production

> This procedure would consider the scarcity issue Jerry is underestimating. 
Hi Alejandro:
There are only so many resources that can be distributed for alternative
purposes,  it's true, but I think others are underestimating the way in 
which framing social questions in terms of scarcity has resulted in or
reinforced authoritarian and hierarchical practices.  
To begin with, how many resources there are is not at all an easy
question to determine.  There are *huge* issues related to that question 
related to cultural and labor practices and environmental consequences.
The issues associated with  different perspectives on scarcity  must be
discussed and resolved by the people themselves -- in an egalitarian
and participatory economy.
So  I don't think I am underestimating the issue of scarcity. 
I think many others are underestimating the contentious character
of that issue.
In solidarity, Jerry

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