History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Computers and market clearing

November 4th, 2012 · 3 Comments

This post was popular: http://darwiniana.com/2012/11/03/technology-beyond-the-market/: The reference to the book Towards a New Socialism was as to their classic discussion of computers taking over the price calculation left to the market. They pointed out, already in a period of not very fast computers, that the computation time for an economy of a million commodities was within reason. With supercomputers of the kind now available, economies of a trillion commodities are becoming computable in a short time frame. Trillion commodity economies dwarf real economies now current.
And complete success here wouldn’t be necessary. A transitional hybrid situation is also more than reasonable. The idea that ‘planning’ can’t oversee economic allocation is therefore open to challenge. At least, we need to stop being silenced by Hayekian-style dogmas about market clearing.
A really serious large-scale research project along these lines could close the theory gap. And it is not true that planning has always failed: the operations research that went into the planning of the WWII economy in the USA was completely successful.

Tags: General

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 NK // Nov 6, 2012 at 8:05 am

    You’re a fan of Weber’s thesis of the Iron Cage so you’re a bit naive if you don’t see the unintended consequences of what you’re advocating. If you think capitalism, as current, has created an Iron Cage, then wait to see what happens with an economy that is completely & totally planned (hence, Weber’s greater ambivalence towards excessively planned economies). This doesn’t even take into account your desire for the economy to be restructured radically for global warming prevention measures (I’m not sure I’ve seen any convincing proposed plan here). I can already see it: the draconian rationing procedures, deciding how many children one can have, etc. Soft authoritarianism is still authoritarianism.

  • 2 nemo // Nov 6, 2012 at 9:26 am

    That’s an assumption based a lack of any investigation of alternatives. A computer direcred market clearing process could be free, freer, or less free than other alternatives. The example of the Russian revolution is misleading..=

  • 3 Darwiniana » Markets, freedom, capitalist dictatorship, and the ambiguities of planned economies // Nov 6, 2012 at 11:52 am

    […] http://darwiniana.com/2012/11/04/computers-and-market-clearing/#comment-384655 The comment here is a good softball pitch, for a discussion of the issues, which can continue over time… […]

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