File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1997/97-01-21.060, message 33


Subject: RE: M-I: planning please
Date: Mon, 20 Jan 1997 14:39:41 -0000



I have one comment on the planning debate.

The market socialists assert that planning without prices is 
impossible.
This assertion contradicts what actually happens now, under capitalism.

While the purpose of most ( but not all ) capitalist planning is the 
realisation
of exchange value in the market place, most planning within state or 
company bureuacracies is not done on the basis of market price. It is
done either in terms of real human beings and real machinery, or on 
a sort of funny land internal "price" which actually is nothing more 
than
a sort of internal counting mechanism for the actual underlying living 
and
dead labour. This planning is done by workers today already, although 
the
decisions between different plans are done by capitalists in 
competition
with one another. Some worker somewhere in Ford's corporate structure
did the calculation which came to the conclusion that for a given 
number of
cars and a certain increase in automation, only two factories would be 
necessary to produce the next model of the Escort where three were
necessary for the last one. This is already under today's capitalism a
basically technical calculation, not one done on the basis of price, 
but
on the basis of real humans and real machines.

What creates and maintains capitalist anarchy alongside capitalist 
planning is the competition between capitalists. This happens in the
market place between corporations and between states militarily
and strategically. Each car company is quite capable of roughly
planning the quantity and quality of living and dead labour required
to increase its production by 10%. The problem isn't that they are
incapable of performing the calculation accurately enough, it's that 
they can't ALL expand production by 10%, or if they do all increase
production to this extent, the money they get for the results of their 
correct resource planning is less than they planned for.

This anarchy reproduces itself down the different layers of state and
corporate beauracracies, since the anarchic context within which
capitalist planning takes place creates sudden panics and slack 
periods.
Each layer of bureuacracy can only defend itself by hoarding resource
and systematic over exaggeration of the resources required to fulfill
its responsibility. This hoarding is done in competition with the layer
above, the layer below, and other members of the same layer, in the
bureaucracy, corporate or state.

In summary : capitalists already get workers to plan resources on a
large scale. We already have the techniques and social organisation
necessary to carry out planning unmediated by price. Workers are quite
used to using these methods already . What prevents this planning from
actually working is the anarchic environment within which capitalists 
plan -
the central component of which is the market mechanism.


Adam.

Adam Rose
SWP
Manchester
Britain.






























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