In Defence of Full-Scale Planning

by Lorenzo Peña

The main purpose of the anti-capitalist movement has always been to put an end to the cleavage between haves and have-nots. Egalitarianism is the core of all historical attempts to set up an alternative to systems based on private ownership. It therefore seems reasonable to take as a criterion of success for such attempts the degree to which they have managed to surmount social inequalities. As with almost everything else, this is not an all-or-nothing issue; differences in both degree and aspect must be taken into account.

As against market-socialism, I argue that, the more supply-and-demand mechanisms are allowed to stand and even grow within an overall planned economy, the greater is the possibility of capitalist evils reappearing under socialist cover, as the sad experience of real socialism has in fact suggested. Yet, some dose of those mechanisms, and thus also of the evils accompanying them, is inevitable for quite some time after the nominal abolition of a capitalist private-ownership system. If, and when, social administrators are aware of those trends and of the overall purpose of socialist transformation, they ought gradually to reduce such disparities and to try to reach, as much and as fast as possible, an egalitarian distribution -- as e.g. on the basis of Marx's needs criterion.

  1. HTML
  2. WordPerfect 5.1
  3. PDF