Market/planned

Ron Press anclondon at gn.apc.org
Wed Jan 11 00:56:50 MST 1995


Hi

I think that one of the most important issues at the present time for Marxists/Socialists is
what do we substitute for capitalism.

The issue of the market, and the planned economy is thus most important.

I thus am taken with the term efficient.

For me this raises the kernal of any system. How do we measure efficiency.

In capitalism the standard of length is the Dollar, the Pound or suchlike. A simple linear
measure. Any such unidementional measure is incapable of satisfying our desire to measure something as complex as human society.

Socialism must define efficiency in a far more complex manner. Human happiness, the environment, absence of hunger, fewer wars..... There are many measuring devices.

The efficient exchange of goods is but one such measure. A planned economy and a free
market both have a contribution to make to this efficiency.

We too often posit extremes of exclusivity and then argue about their relative merits only
to find that the best scheme in in the middle some where.

My measure of Socialism is the satisfaction of the desires of the majority of the worlds people.

How do we get a handle on this measure? We set up a system which allows these desires
to be expressed. It is called in simple and thus ill defined terms Democracy. Capitalism has proved itself again and again to have an antipathy to democracy. The form of Socialism in the USSR also failed in this respect.

However its basis was to satisfy the desires of the majority and in this respect it was on the right lines.

There is no simple way to measure efficiency. But on the other hand ask the majority of humankind and they will say that capitalism and the free market is not efficient. Similarly they will say that central planning is not efficient. The answer is some where in between. The problem is to set up a system which has within itself a method of continuous assesment of efficiency.
on.

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