Did I ruffle a few feathers? :)

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Thu Sep 21 09:35:40 MDT 1995

On Thu, 21 Sep 1995, Chris M. Sciabarra wrote:

> could be catastrophic.  Granted, you admit central planning is absurd,
> but the more centralized the planning the worse it is, because error
> cannot be localized under such a system; it is fully systemic and
> problematic.

I recently got a hold of Moshe Lewin's new book "Russia USSR Russia". He
has a chapter which basically makes the case that what Stalin did was not
planning at all. He overrode the recommendations of all of his engineers,
statisticians and economists when he embarked on the industrialization of
the 1930's.

I have been managing projects, designing systems and databases for 27
years now for Fortune 100 corporations. If somebody was hired for a Chief
Information Officer position at one of these places, the first thing they
would be asked was "what's your plan for the next 5 years". The biggest
disasters I've seen is when corporate management hires a bunch of
technicians, throws them together to build a large scale system without
adequate planning or specifications. The "seat of the pants" approach
results in computer systems that function like Chernobyl.

The type of planning we need is not planning that will make sure that the
consumer gets a microwave oven with all the latest features, but planning
that will save the lives of our children and grandchildren. The free
market system is destroying the planet. Check out the recent articles in
the NY Times on global warming. As long as decisions about how many
hydrocarbons are emitted into the air are left up to private enterprise,
we have a grim future indeed.

The problem with your approach, Chris, is that it approaches things from
the point of the view of the individual. Unless we face these major
ecological problems as collective humanity, we're in deep trouble.

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