Re: Can planned economies work and be as efficient as market or mixed economies? (Quora)

Michael Meeropol

If I remember Oskar Lange's intervention in this debate now over 90 years ago, he stated that the government could force all enterprises to act as if they were perfectly competitive firms (and in the 1960s he said COMPUTERS could do everything the market can) solving the MICRO problem.  But I think (memory is vague) that he also mentioned that the macro problems of growth, technology, (and later aggregate demand deficiencies) could be BETTER dealt with via central planning.

Add Alperovitz and Wolff to Lange and you get the ability of a TRULY democratic polity to make decisions on long term technological changes --- 

Case in point -- now that the public are aroused and connected to the danger of global warming, a truly democratic polity would TELL the planners to get rid of fossil fuels as quickly as possible --- not so as to protect the profits of the owners of fossil fuel companies because of course there wouldn't be any of those "owners" --- but to make the transition so that the delivery of use values to the people would not be too disrupted -- and of course a planned economy could compensate those who have to change jobs --- Hell, the planners could be told to pay coal miners, etc. their previous salaries to do NOTHING while they retrain.

Even with today's ridiculous cost-benefit analysis, that would be worthwhile in the US --- paying all people who work in fossil fuels to do nothing would in the end save so many lives as we bent and reversed the curve of global warming as to have --- as I say many times --- an INFINITE payoff ...

But of course we have capitalism -- hence owners of fossil fuels have power --- 

How to respond -- well -- I have a hard time wrapping my mind around utilizing terror to accomplish anything positive but I was struck by the stories developed in Kim Stanley Robinson's THE MINISTRY FOR THE FUTURE ...I recommend that book most highly ...

On Fri, Dec 3, 2021 at 4:07 PM <gilschaeffer82@...> wrote:
The original debate about planning and the market as an information system was sharply focused on a genuine intellectual economic problem. Anthony mentions Stalin but doesn't mention the post-Stalin efforts to make planning work. I agree that more planning and public investment is necessary and that it must include democratic decision-making and public ownership, but that effort will still have to deal with the problem of consumer preferences, technological advances, and the course of new investment. Can all these decisions be made without some feedback from a market of some sort? At the very least, this will be a process of trial and error. 

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