Date:    Thu, 29 May 97 8:33:00 EDT
From:    boddhisatva 
Subject: Re: M-I: Cyber-revolution (3 of 3)

        To whom...,

        Louis Proyect gives us one of his best writings here.  While he
uses the facts of the case to make his pro-planning argument, he does so
in a laudably circumspect, complete, and well-mannered way.  And it is in
such a spirit that I suggest a missing element in the discussion. 

	The planned economy is a supply-side model.  It assumes,
fundamentally that supply will create demand by suggesting that demand can
be known or assumed beforehand, even up to the time of investment (long
before production). The comrade points out Cockshott and Cottrell's
argument that market prices have an "arbitrary character".  I say two
things.  First, this arbitrary character is unavoidable.  Second, the fact
of a market does not by any means negate planned, even overwhelmingly
planned, investment. 

	Market prices exist (effectively everywhere, despite attempts at
planning) because there is something of a singularity between the time a
good is produced with workers and investment paid for, and the time it is
consumed.  All efforts to show a causal and definite connection between
production costs and market price (even in the aggregate, as fluctuation
is the rule rather than the exception) are doomed because a good's utility
cannot be known before it is consumed.  This argument incites vehement
opposition because it seems to negate the Labor Theory of Value.  It does
not.  It is simply a co-existing economic truth. 

	Of course the argument does suggest the validity of market
socialism.  Market socialism suggests accumulation and that suggests
trouble with a capital,.. well,.. "ism"... to most Marxists.  It need not. 
Since the 80's it has been clear that there is something greater than
accumulation.  That is *leverage*.  All the accumulation of the greatest
corporate giants no longer protects them from the leveraged buyer.
Leverage is credit and credit is something that needs to be carefully
considered, even planned.

	Remember I said that planned economies were a supply-side model? 
Supply-siders are obsessed with credit.  I put it to the group that the
Milton Friedmans and Alan Greenspans of the world must beand can be
replaced by Cockshotts, Cottrells, Henwoods, and, yes, Proyects.  The
state need not engage in micro-planning industrial production (fortunate,
since this is a practical impossibility in a modern economy) if it
controls enough of the credit market.  Heck, most of the computers
necessary are already plugging away, making models for capitalist
speculators.  The laying off of investment risk against investment risk is
already becoming dominated by number-crunchers. Unlike planning industrial
production, where strict quantitative planning is impossible because of
the independence of consumer demand, the financing, re-financing, and
hedging of investment is naturally, necessarily, and overwhelmingly a
quantitative discipline. 

	The bugaboo is interest.  I put it to the group that the charging
of interest is only exploitative when the power to lend is controlled by
the few.  Interest is quite distinct from ownership.  Rentiers must first
own to take on their character.  Interest chargers - e.g. banks - do not
lend out of stockpiled capital but lay off debt owed against debt
promised.  That their ability to do so results overwhelmingly from
previous accumulation is true, but governments, democratic governments
(albeit bourgeois at the moment) are lenders too.  Expand the lending of
public capital to the point at which it undermines the ability of rentier
lenders to set prices, and to control the character of entrepreneurial
activity, and you *effectively* undermine accumulation as an inherent
characteristic of both money/capital and the market.  To effect such a
vast expansion would require the very kind of intense data analysis and
digital infrastructure which Lou Proyect suggests to be the aqua vitae of
the "third wave."  

	This is the real-world, real-time application of Comrade Seattle's
societal "transparency."  Conceive of a cybersystem where punditry,
political opinion, theory and argument could be married in an instant to
economic policy and the society's capacity for commerce.  Roll the Fed,
the economics press, the vox populi, and the credit markets up together,
put them on the Net and paint the mother Red.  Now, you've got a project
big enough for....(I ought to resist but I can't).....Proyect. 


     --- from list ---