History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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The bias against planned economies

November 9th, 2014 · No Comments


This post may go into the ‘toss off’ file: what I meant to say didn’t quite come through: the idea of piecemeal communist social engineering (if you have read Popper) is simply the ‘macro’ version of the capitalist version: piecemeal (capitalist) social engineering. The communist version doesn’t quite fit the terms used for those not used to unexpected reversals of meaning.
But the point stands: a ‘macro’ planning system would in its own way be piecemeal. But the point is rather that we cannot expect piecemeal social engineering, or free markets, to be able to substitute for a larger perspective of a totality. The classic: Toward a New Socialism : explored the idea of computerized computations on the list of commodities in a given economy. And the amount of computer power needed to do such calculations. From forty years ago when the idea seemed silly to our time the progress of the technology for planned economies has grown as with Moore’s Law. The attempt to even describe an economy at this point seems like an impossible task. Hardly! But OK, how many commodities are there in the American economy: a billion from a million?
In any case, the relationships of free markets to planned markets is almost certain to show ‘macro/micro’ properties, and the spectrum of potential economies would surely reveal intermediate cases (which exist already). China, we might note, shows just such a hybrid and has certainly never abolished central planning.
I think we should study the question carefully because the Chinese case is grossly flawed, but the point is clear that a mediated planned/free market spectrum of economies could lead to the correct solution to a pure communist economy.
In any case, the rogue capitalist economy of the US, if it ever gave up the planning actually in effect, would plunge into chaos. So we are mostly talking in fictions all around.

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