[OPE-L:2729] Re: socialism and planning

Allin Cottrell (cottrell@wfu.edu)
Fri, 26 Jul 1996 12:53:13 -0700 (PDT)

[ show plain text ]

On Fri, 26 Jul 1996 glevy@pratt.edu wrote:

> > 3) Are there any credible alternatives to centralized planning schemes as
> > substitutes for commodity allocation methods? How would they reproduce
> > themselves socially?
> I can't help but believe that there was a reason why Marx was leery of
> developing any "blueprints" for socialism (as the "utopian socialists"
> had). While we have the historical experience of the former USSR as well
> as other "socialist" nations to evaluate, we have to accept that there are
> certain questions which will only be answered by future workers in the new
> society.

Why should future workers even contemplate building a "new society"
in the absence of any conception of how it might work, and constitute
an improvement over the present state of affairs?

Marx took it for granted that the freely associated producers
were capable of constructing an efficient, democratic planned economy.
The details could be worked out in good time. Obviously, today one
cannot take any such thing for granted. Most people believe that
this has been shown to be impossible -- both via theoretical
argument and historical experience. It will take hard intellectual
effort to "reopen" this idea (in new form) as a conception that
might motivate people to political action.