Re: [OPE] socialist planning in capitalist firms

From: Alejandro Agafonow <>
Date: Thu Mar 18 2010 - 09:47:59 EDT

Conflicting private interests among competing firms have not prevented an increase in market’s concentration when economies of scale allow efficiency gains. Furthermore, conflicting private interests have not been absent from centrally planned economies either. So, what does make conflicting interests in capitalist economies more powerful than conflicting interests in socialist economies that prevent the former to go further in a centrally capitalist economy? Nothing in my criterion. Therefore the issue of diminishing returns to management.  A. Agafonow ________________________________ De: "" <> Para: Outline on Political Economy mailing list <> Enviado: lun,15 marzo, 2010 01:41 Asunto: Re: [OPE] socialist planning in capitalist firms > The point is not so much the pre-figuration of socialist planning by the > increase in the dimension of economic agents in the corporate sector, as > the limits of central planning as it is shown by the structure of > capitalist corporate sector. Why doesn’t it have evolved to a centrally > planned capitalism? The answer lies in the diminishing returns to > management that these agents face when certain organizational dimension is > attained. Dont you think that the conflicting private interests of competing firms may have something to do with it? So, the point is what lessons can be derived for a feasible > socialism, i.e. a decentralized one. >  A. Agafonow > > > > > ________________________________ > De: Adler Paul <> > Para: Outline on Political Economy mailing list <> > Enviado: jue,11 marzo, 2010 22:48 > Asunto: Re: [OPE] socialist planning in capitalist firms > > I'm not sure what aspects of business planning are worth considering -- I > am just trying to scope out the issues... > > * I assume that stuff like CAD/CAM and OR applied to inventory planning > are so straightforwardly technical that their value for socialist planning > is obvious. (I recall reading something about cellular mfg and CAD/'CAM > from the USSR in the 1980s). > > * The case of scientific management and its new incarnation as lean > production is obviously more complex historically, but as I read that > dossier, it seems pretty clear how to use these techniques under socialism > (like Sydney Hillman demanded: make it a joint mgt-labor investigation) > > * transfer pricing between units: an old study by R. Eccles showed that > many "related diversified" corporations used "rational trust" rather than > cost-based prices or market-prices -- that seems interesting > > * strategic planning: the research on how corporations formulate their > annual (and longer-term) plans and budgets has (as best I can tell) dried > up in recent decades. My understanding is that most big companies engage > an iterative cycle where higher levels propose targets, lower levels come > back with plans that aim to meet those targets or challenge the targets as > infeasible, and the results cascade progressively down through the layers > of authority (corporate -- sector/group -- business unit). Recently, this > area of management practice has gotten more interesting with the > introduction of the concept of "balanced scorecard" -- this makes > explicits the business goals in several distinct dimensions -- not only > for finances, but also for customer quality, internal process > efficiencies, and employee "growth and learning". > ... > > So my query is about whether folks on this list are aware of any recent > work that explicitly aims to assess progress in the emergent > pre-figuration of socialist planning in the corporate sector. > ... Or if they think I've posed the problem wrongly. > Paul > > > On Mar 11, 2010, at 1:13 PM, GERALD LEVY wrote: > >> >>> Large capitalist firms have sometimes been characterized as islands of >>> planning in a sea of competition. I think Marx can be read as making >>> this point when he celebrates the socialization (albeit limited, >>> partial) that flows from concentration and centralization. I wonder if >>> anyone has studied corporate planning practices through these lenses. >>> In what senses do these practices pre-figure socialist planning? What >>> lessons for socialist planning might we learn from them? >> >> Hi Paul A: >> >> Well, I don't think Marx anticipated industrial pricing schemes by large >> firms in oligopolistic markets. And, I'm not sure what aspect of >> "planning" by these corporations you are referring to? "Scientific >> management" (Taylorism)? (Lenin and Trotsky referred to this under the >> NEP.) Operations research and linear programming? Well, that was >> also developed in a different context by planners in the USSR. Automated >> production systems which incorporate (no pun intended) planning >> functions (e.g. computer-aided manufacturing - CAM - and CAD/CAM)? >> Systems of inventory management and control (e.g. those associated with >> "lean production" systems? Etc? Etc? >> >> In solidarity, Jerry                         >> _______________________________________________ >> ope mailing list >> >> > > > _______________________________________________ > ope mailing list > > > > > >      _______________________________________________ > ope mailing list > > > _______________________________________________ ope mailing list

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