Lenin & Accounting-Autonomy versus heteronomy

TimW333521 at aol.com TimW333521 at aol.com
Fri Jul 14 07:00:39 MDT 1995

This whole discussion of "Lenin & Accounting" started as a discussion of
utopianism and then of market socialism.  Let us remember that Lenin, within
months of writing his pearls of wisdom on how simple accounting is and
therefore what a piece of cake it would be for workers to administer a
workers state,  was insisting on one man management.  Was the fellow a
scoundrel?  I would suggest another explanation: he soon found that he was
dead wrong  in virtually everything he wrote in State and Revolution related
to the first stage of a workers state.  Rather than abandon the socialist
project, he abandoned in practice State and Revolution.  And yet some people
on this net continue to take this pamphlet seriously!

If computers make accounting (which by the way is NOT administering an
economy, but a rather minor subset ) so damn easy, why is it that the
capitalists, who have computers up the ying yang, still have massive
bureaucracies within their corporations.  Bureaucracy, after all, is
 overhead and not profit centers.

I just love the image of running the American economy with a copy of Quicken!
 No wonder Microsoft wanted to buy them out!

My point in all this discussion is that a number of the contributors seem to
have minimal comprehension of the complexity of modern industrial society and
therefore what -- quite independent of social structures--it takes to
administer it.

Now on markets.  Louis quotes Magdoff on the need for markets in
"distribution".  But for markets to operate in distribution requires autonomy
of the entities doing the marketing, albeit producer cooperatives, etc.  This
is the image of market socialism found in Nove.

Further, there is a direct relation between  centralized planning and
bureaucracy.  If there is to be no market then somehow all inputs into a
producing unit and all outputs from that producing unit need to be regulated.
 Since there are many millions of such inputs and outputs in a modern society
the regulating process would be massive, requiring millions of people, and
open to great dangers of dislocation (factories waiting for an input, poor
quality of an output).  Better to allow much of this to be handled by market
mechanisms and utilize planning to strategetically direct the largest
economic units and the thrust of the economy as a whole.

On Louis Proyject's comments on Cuba:  Surely consumer goods are produced by
the other 100 or so nations in the world who do trade with Cuba.  But more
important, he has nothing to say about the deadening identity -- virtually
word for word -- in every paper, in all publications, radio, television,
billboards.  Must we trade democracy for health care?

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