red plenty

By Owen Paine on Friday June 1, 2012 09:04 AM

an imagined narrative of twilight gosplan theory
by some brit bum fuck named Spufford

gets a slow spin at this blog wallow

in the likely hood no one here gets to the end of this post by cosma
here it is:

"There is a fundamental level at which Marx’s nightmare vision is right: capitalism, the market system, whatever you want to call it, is a product of humanity, but each and every one of us confronts it as an autonomous and deeply alien force. Its ends, to the limited and debatable extent that it can even be understood as having them, are simply inhuman. The ideology of the market tell us that we face not something inhuman but superhuman, tells us to embrace our inner zombie cyborg and loose ourselves in the dance. One doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry or running screaming.

But, and this is I think something Marx did not sufficiently appreciate, human beings confront all the structures which emerge from our massed interactions in this way. A bureaucracy, or even a thoroughly democratic polity of which one is a citizen, can feel, can be, just as much of a cold monster as the market. We have no choice but to live among these alien powers which we create, and to try to direct them to human ends. It is beyond us, it is even beyond all of us, to find “a human measure, intelligible to all, chosen by all”, which says how everyone should go. What we can do is try to find the specific ways in which these powers we have conjured up are hurting us, and use them to check each other, or deflect them into better paths. Sometimes this will mean more use of market mechanisms, sometimes it will mean removing some goods and services from market allocation, either through public provision7 or through other institutional arrangements8. Sometimes it will mean expanding the scope of democratic decision-making (for instance, into the insides of firms), and sometimes it will mean narrowing its scope (for instance, not allowing the demos to censor speech it finds objectionable). Sometimes it will mean leaving some tasks to experts, deferring to the internal norms of their professions, and sometimes it will mean recognizing claims of expertise to be mere assertions of authority, to be resisted or countered.

These are all going to be complex problems, full of messy compromises. Attaining even second best solutions is going to demand “bold, persistent experimentation”, coupled with a frank recognition that many experiments will just fail, and that even long-settled compromises can, with the passage of time, become confining obstacles. We will not be able to turn everything over to the wise academicians, or even to their computers, but we may, if we are lucky and smart, be able, bit by bit, make a world fit for human beings to live in."

i'd like to see comments on this fat lady hee hawing

in particular from this sites blackest unflinching anarchists

why ?

because whether you join in or not

the active tenth of humanity
albeit in hunks at cross purposes
will be implausibly building drafts of the future
out of the retained and recorded wreckage of the past

Comments (10)

I truly appreciate what you're trying to do here, OP. I just can't keep up, intellectually speaking, to lend adequate comment; the philoconomy of it all strains my brain.

But if I do understand an iota, it seems to be a discussion about whether or not we can game the system - if not to eventual good end - at least in favor of preferable result - with a "we are all humans, after all" flavor.

Could you dumb it down for me a bit?


the pasted up passages are there purely for comic relief

not a crowish
bitter comic relief either
a rollicky larry sterne comic relief

bouvard and his friend could paste
these slabs in their scrap book
in toto

slap it right in there
with the best
of their wood lice level
noetic banquet tables
yup keep it groaning forever
under its load of received ideas

Al Schumann:

I read it, but now I'm not sure why. I already knew there is no cyber-economic deus ex machina, and I also already knew we're destined to muddle along, geniuses and mediocrities alike.


It reads to me like an exceptionally wordy, and dreamy, rationalization of the strange and perverse desire to worship wonk.

Al Schumann:

Paul, I agree. I appreciated the author's reference to the Monday morning after the revolution. When the dancing and celebrating winds down, we must find something harmless for the wonk worshippers to do.


another hosefaced clown heard from:

"the sad truth of Soviet communism is that the only honest way to write about the “Fifties dream” is in a way which makes it clear it was a great big lie, and that the only lesson from that system is not to do that again."


"the promise of spontaneously self organizing economies "

is the great insight of ....the 18th century

a wonk reflection of the unsoundness
of this insight when carried thru to policy
is the greenwald stgilitz theorem

one of course needs to take this formalism
and its "definitive "results into as many applications as reasonable sanity
makes possible

my guess a popularization of this logic trick of a result
has not been done
at least up to the standards of say
the wealth of nations


gosplan was a brutish attempt
to impose an order and direction thru the state on the development of the total social production system
it is an application of greenwald stiglitz
but of course as the truth
cosma post staggers thru
the modern oligopolistic corporation
is in deeper application
greenwald stiglitz too



the base line for the monday after
is certainly the NEP

its absolutely nothing to saying this

and deng proved just how far
that model can go

that the "stalinist" gosplan venture
pre empted the NEP model in its maiden voyage


---and despite the karloff
frankenstein's monster
of a production system
uncle joe's boys and girls "erected"--

the grand Gosplan ambition

--in particular its industrial vision--

applied thru the state
at the national level
to the totality of the economy
buried in the soul of some of us

like the monster between installments
of that marvel of 30's hollywood

Al Schumann:

Owen, if I recollect accurately, Galbraith Sr. noted the essential role of central planning for industrialized nations. There's no way to have high levels of industrialization without it. Micromanaged central planning, however, isn't going to function at all well. I'm weary of self-congratulatory liberals who explain at groaning length why this is so. Their existence and well paid careers in self-congratulatory liberalism are sufficient indictment.


u as usual recollect accurately Al

and indeed
its precisely this sway backed old nag :

"Micromanaged central planning...
isn't going to function
at all well"
the liberals simply can't ride far enough
into the ground eh ?

and yet modern liberals
both social and cultural
are often boldly and microscopically
state interventionist

in fact those who call themselves liberals
often have a deep abiding suspicion
of unharnessed markets

not to mention goo goo pinko rads

why the announcement of the NEP
caused waves of despair
among the haute pink brainoisie

the arrival of the mighty gosplan
7 years later of course
entered shitting in its own hat

what with all that dekulacking brutality
in the countryside

seems the full blown goo goo rejection
thru a top down toalized plan for industrial development
didn't hit till ..till well into the cold war
--- on a "can't work well " level at least ---
as we all know for some considerable time
after full recovery from the ravages of
the great patriotic war -- circa 1950--
a fear of this ant hill type system existed
maybe it might blow right past
our " i like ike"
purcheron paced organization man capitalism
-the sort gall-breath limned --

yes there was fear of gosplan
and it intensified after sputnik of course

no less a plutonic titan
then governor rocky rockefeller
convened a posse of egg heads
to study ways to goose up our GROWTH rate

to keep up with the soviets gosplan express

ahh but in the 60's
that decade of false enlightenments all over the place
the reality of sovonomics seeped out
under the iron curtain

low and behold
confirming the frigid marketeer " austrian dogmatists " like mises and hayek the original prophets
-- they'd said a gosplan guided production system
couldn't work way back at the beginning in 1920
long before they pushed their own total vision
ie such a production syste requires
a 1984 "superstructure"

Al this is indeed bog like country

but what we now face is just how little
we undrestand about
market mediated and profit guided
systems of production
in particular
just how badly "THEY" work
how sub optimal

--- a word that draws a clear line
between me and that pure romantic dark sider father S --


quantum jump:

mao's take on deng
"capitalist road" was dead on correct

fine todays china is capitalist to its testicles

and yet stack up the great leap ***
and the GPRC
against the Deng break thru

and unless you are an anchorite
a termite collective lover
or a homocidal misanthropist
no matter your degree of red hotness
you pause b4 plunking for great leap II

or occupy morphing into an GPCR for norte amigos

-- check that ...sounds marvelous eh ?---

i notice
as seems to be my wont

here i am typing in spirals

i'll just bust off ...right now

***the great leap itself
was of course
a reaction to gosplanism
for its slow-cialism
and goulashism
-- at the time
the special K politbureau
took a crass turn toward
hog forward consumerism gosplan style
ie hyper slops for the millions
for a cross reference
imagine a nation fitted out
from top to bottom****
with a life style
like the average teamster household
of 1965 ---

**** except for a layer of eggheads both rotten and dissident

ahhh so much here really

Al Schumann:

I've been oversimplifying, I think. There are times when micromanaging economic sectors actually works very well. But there does seem to be a need for finite stretches of it. There's also definitely something to be said for the fairly rigid quota of labor hours and capped work weeks you've mentioned. That's an input that should be squeezed.

Post a comment

Note also that comments with three or more links may be held for "moderation" -- a strange term to apply to the ghost in this blog's machine. Seems to be a hard-coded limitation of the blog software, unfortunately.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on Friday June 1, 2012 09:04 AM.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Creative Commons License

This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Powered by
Movable Type 3.31