Re: [OPE] socialist planning in capitalist firms

Date: Thu Jun 10 2010 - 16:48:19 EDT

Hi Paul C - and others:
Not in the time period I was referencing. To note following the 1917 revolution that
the USSR was isolated (in every way, including economic) was not, as Alejandro asserted,
a 'myth'. More to the point, the Soviet economy was relatively 'backwards' (that's
the expression the Bolsheviks used) compared to the major capitalist industrial powers
of the day (Germany, UK, France, US) and the spread of the revolution internationally
was quite explicitly seen as their only hope for socialism. It was not for nothing that
the German communist Levine said "We are all dead men on leave".
You might ask what this has to do with the role of managers and planners. Well, the
ever pragmatic technocrats working for the state represented a bureaucratic elite
which supported the (Stalin's) idea of socialism in a single country. If there's something
we should learn from history on this score, it is not that the quantitative planning
methods were inadequate for the task but rather that in the absence of a genuine socialist
democracy there is a 'beueaucratic danger' that arises because of the authority
given to the technocrats and specialists.
Furthermore, one doesn't have to support Marx's conception of communism - which
Alejandro and Dave Z criticized - to see that, even without overcoming the problem
of scarcity, that international coordination including an international
socialist division of labor is required if one realistically expects to raise the
forces of production rather than simply have a redistributive model of socialism.
In solidarity, Jerry

> Since the ussr was at an above average economic level, the spread of revolution meant, at least in medium term , higher aid bills.
>> So again, the qualitative inputs provided by returns to management are essential to asses the
>> opportunity costs of centrally planned socialism.
> Hi Alejandro:
> This could be cited as a rationalization for a bureaucratic managerial elite.
> Yet, it was the presence of a bureaucracy itself that accounted for most of the
> inefficiencies and inequalities associated with what you call 'centrally planned
> socialism'. As for the opportunity costs, this was fundamentally a reflection
> of the scarcity caused by the isolation of these economies. The way to overcome
> this problem - something that Lenin and the majority of the 'old Bolsheviks'
> were very clear about - would have been global socialism.
ope mailing list
Received on Thu Jun 10 16:52:00 2010

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Wed Jun 30 2010 - 00:00:03 EDT