Centrally planned economy

Chris, London 100423.2040 at compuserve.com
Sun Jun 2 07:44:20 MDT 1996

Hans Ehrbar makes a major response to Cockshott and Cottrell's
book on socialism, under the thread line "Expropriating the
petty bourgeoisie".  Sat, 1 Jun 1996 21:12:34 -0600

While neutralising or winning over the petty
bourgeoisie to any socialist initiative is a factor to be considered,
the subject is much wider than that, so I have used a different
thread line.

I have had two reservations about Paul Cockshott's stategy, but
I am beginning to think that neither of them are insuperable.

1) His emphasis on the technical computing power capable of
centrally planning an economy is written in a way that might
imply a deterministic top-down approach. In fact I would
understand that if banks of micro-chips are linked together to
produce the power required, they would act together in a non-linear way.
I would appreciate assurance that this is not an obstacle to the model.

2) I had read the prescription for labour time chits as simplistic.
However, on re-reading Engels' article on the Law of Value, in the context
of the parallel thread about historical determinism, I can see that this
proposal might be similar to arguing that commodities circulate
according to what Engels described as simple commodity
exchange rather than capitalist commodity exchange based on the
prices of production which incorporate a share of the
surplus value. And as the debate on the Asiatic Mode of Production
shows, simple commodity exchange is possible in a large centrally
organised state.

I see the thrust of some of Ehrbar's comments that people are
impatient for more socially responsible central guidance, if not
rigid control, of the capitalist economy.

I hope others can take this thread further. Comments on my concerns
would be appreciated.


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