Stalin, planning and the libertarian critique

Chris M. Sciabarra sciabrrc at is2.NYU.EDU
Sat Sep 30 12:23:55 MDT 1995

On Fri, 29 Sep 1995, Louis N Proyect wrote:

> Louis Proyect:
> As part of his ongoing crusade against socialism, Chris Sciabarra
> blames the economic woes of the former Soviet Union on "planning."
> Stalin and his clique of rulers did not "plan" the Soviet economy. They
> had no use for engineers, statisticians or economists. When Peter
> Palchinsky, the subject of Loren Graham's essential "Ghost of the
> Executed Engineer", objected to Stalin's capriciousness, the tyrant had
> him executed. Stalin's industrialization policies were identical to his
> approach to Soviet military defense: irrational, stupid and self-
> destructive.

	I've deleted most of Louis's comments here describing in great
detail the reality of Stalinist "planning."  I don't much object to what
Louis describes here.  I think this was the reality-- ultimately, the
Soviets depended on a de facto bargaining process anyway.  The "tolkach" in
Soviet industry usually supplemented systemic shortfalls by bargaining on
the black market.  Planning goals were constantly changed and modified,
and nothing approaching central planning could work anyway!  What
happened, is what Austrians fully expected... a statist imposition that was
not quite what any good socialist would have hoped for.
	Now, if some other planning mechanism could emerge which would
transcend reliance on statism, I'm all for looking at it.  Thus far,
however, I think the market has proven to be the best mechanism--however
distorted it has been--in providing the goods and services that people
want and need.
					- Chris
Dr. Chris M. Sciabarra
Visiting Scholar, NYU Department of Politics
INTERNET:  sciabrrc at

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