• frank
    9.2k
    Central planning works for military operations, so why not use the same techniques for meeting the basic needs of citizens like food, shelter, and healthcare?

    A liberal would answer that central planning is usually grossly inefficient, and prone to misallocation of resources that ultimately does citizens more harm than good. If a society tries to implement central planning without allowance for external corrections, the result will be a giant mess.

    So why is this true at the level of goods and services, but not for the military?
  • James Riley
    2.7k
    So why is this true at the level of goods and services, but not for the military?frank

    The military is grossly inefficient and prone it misallocation of resources. It works, yes, but we throw colossal shit tons of money at it for the return that we get. But here's the deal: It provides jobs. So the better question is, why can't those jobs be created building basics needs? Or better yet, why are those jobs which currently exist to provide basic needs considered part of the welfare state and a waste, instead of being counted like the guy building bombs?

    I hate ugly central planning. But I think Europe has some cool shit. It's not an either/or. It's priorities.
  • frank
    9.2k
    Ultimately, the most forceful argument for central planning of the economy is moral.

    There really aren't any good practical arguments, are there?
  • James Riley
    2.7k
    Ultimately, the most forceful argument for central planning of the economy is moral.frank

    Only if it works.

    There really aren't any good practical arguments, are there?frank

    If it works, it's practical.

    I just think that if we threw as much money at central planning as we do the military, we could have gold-plated food, shelter, and healthcare, instead of gold-plated toilet seats in a new super-sonic jet that can't get off the ground.

    Instead of ugly-ass projects and tenement buildings, we could have some really cool stuff. And think of all the jobs created to do this, from Landscape Architects, to nail-benders to etc. Doctors and nurses getting paid without the insurance sucking sound between them and the patient, and healthy food that tastes good.

    And guess what? I think the U.S. could afford to do that AND still have the baddest-ass military on the planet, by far. But I don't make policy. Shrug.
  • baker
    3.3k
    Central planning works for military operations, so why not use the same techniques for meeting the basic needs of citizens like food, shelter, and healthcare?frank

    Because that would be socialism! We can't have that!! People must fight for their daily bread, or perish.
  • frank
    9.2k


    You can give bread and circuses to the people without central planning of the economy. That's what we call progressive in the US.

    But I think a liberal who adheres to Hayek's views would say that central planning is fine as long as it emerged naturally, like in a mir?
  • NOS4A2
    5.2k


    Hayek would point to his Local Knowledge Problem, which suggests that the vast majority of the knowledge required for rational planning exists outside the grasp of any central authority. The knowledge is dispersed among all people, decentralized.

    The peculiar character of the problem of a rational economic order is determined precisely by the fact that the knowledge of the circumstances of which we must make use never exists in concentrated or integrated form but solely as the dispersed bits of incomplete and frequently contradictory knowledge which all the separate individuals possess. The economic problem of society is thus not merely a problem of how to allocate “given” resources—if “given” is taken to mean given to a single mind which deliberately solves the problem set by these “data.” It is rather a problem of how to secure the best use of resources known to any of the members of society, for ends whose relative importance only these individuals know. Or, to put it briefly, it is a problem of the utilization of knowledge which is not given to anyone in its totality.

    https://www.econlib.org/library/Essays/hykKnw.html
  • James Riley
    2.7k
    Hayek would point to his Local Knowledge Problem, which suggests that the vast majority of the knowledge required for rational planning exists outside the grasp of any central authority. The knowledge is dispersed among all people, decentralized.

    The peculiar character of the problem of a rational economic order is determined precisely by the fact that the knowledge of the circumstances of which we must make use never exists in concentrated or integrated form but solely as the dispersed bits of incomplete and frequently contradictory knowledge which all the separate individuals possess. The economic problem of society is thus not merely a problem of how to allocate “given” resources—if “given” is taken to mean given to a single mind which deliberately solves the problem set by these “data.” It is rather a problem of how to secure the best use of resources known to any of the members of society, for ends whose relative importance only these individuals know. Or, to put it briefly, it is a problem of the utilization of knowledge which is not given to anyone in its totality.

    https://www.econlib.org/library/Essays/hykKnw.html
    NOS4A2

    Sounds like an argument for trickle-up economics. Take from the hoarders and give to those who know best, and who will actually spend it in the community. If the hoarders want to get in on the action, they actually have to work for it. But if they don't want to work, it's not a problem: They are wealth creators and they'll just bootstrap some more money out of thin air. It's a win-win.
  • NOS4A2
    5.2k


    There is supply-side and demand-side economics. So-called “trickle” kinds of economics are pejoratives, and not actual theories.
  • frank
    9.2k


    Right. This is the argument that central planning can't work. All we need is one example of it functioning successfully, and that argument falls.

    He also argues that central planning does violence to what nature has wrought, endangering the population in the process. Again, we only need one example of it working to show that isn't true.

    Liberalism contains a few gems. Arguments against central planning aren't among them in my view. The thing is, there really isn't a good argument for it (that I can see so far).
  • tim wood
    8.1k
    Central planningfrank
    Another discussion without a clear subject. What is central planning and how does it differ from non-central planning?

    And it seems to me that once you start to think about just that simple question, the subject unfolds. There would seem to be some categorical distinction between the two. And maybe in theory there is, but where, when, and how in real life? Central and non-central then becomes a false binary choice. Being such, the discussion can be meaningful only along some tangent.

    Planning of any kind if it is to be implemented concerns power and the exercise of power. Central v. non-central implies power v. lack of power, and rarely if ever is that distinction ever completely clear.

    Anyone care to try to clarify here? Maybe even with some examples?

    Or I will try, in a general way. I buy the notion that some laws, or planning, should be done at a federal level, for all, with adjustments as necessary for local realities. And the same for some laws or planning best left to states or localities themselves.

    Among the things that get loused up is the claim that because this is federal that should be, or this state or local, that should be. And I would argue that this or that are different in respect of being this and that, and the jurisdiction for each determined on its own merits.
  • James Riley
    2.7k
    So-called “trickle” kinds of economics are pejoratives, and not actual theories.NOS4A2

    They aren't pejoratives. Well, trickle-down may be, now that it has been exposed. But trickle-up still needs a 40 year shot at it. The theory is as I stated.

    Supply and demand side are both increasing growth models.
  • James Riley
    2.7k
    Central and non-central then becomes a false binary choice. Being such, the discussion can be meaningful only along some tangent.tim wood

    :100: :up: I agree and only rolled with a tangent of my own, assuming his military reference was being used as an example of central planning, with the opposite being free-markets. But yes, we are lacking in any substantive criteria/definitions. That never stopped me :lol:
  • NOS4A2
    5.2k


    I guess I don’t understand the question.

    I was responding to the question: “Hayek's views would say that central planning is fine as long as it emerged naturally, like in a mir?” That contradicts his view that central planning cannot work.

    Military is not an incidence of central-planning because military planning has nothing to do with markets and economy, and is limited in activity and scope.
  • frank
    9.2k
    was responding to the question: “Hayek's views would say that central planning is fine as long as it emerged naturally, like in a mir?” That contradicts his view that central planning cannot work.NOS4A2

    Oh, I see what you're saying. Let me rephrase: if I showed Hayek a case of central planning that emerged spontaneously, he'd be have to approve due his devotion to whatever appears naturally.

    Military is not an incidence of central-planning because military planning has nothing to do with markets and economy, and is limited in activity and scope.
    9m
    NOS4A2

    I'm probably not going to wrangle with you over cases of functional central planning.
  • NOS4A2
    5.2k


    Oh, ok. Well, he differentiates between spontaneous and designed order. I can’t see how a centrally-planned economy can come from the former without first coming from the latter.
  • frank
    9.2k


    Before free markets existed temple economies were common. Priests set exchange rates (there was no money yet). It worked, although moneyless societies were stagnant by our standards.

    Ironically, planned economies came first. Free markets first appeared in the chaos of the Bronze Age collapse.
  • Manuel
    1.9k
    The problem is not central planning per se, institutions are made by people, not laws of physics. The issue with how central planning has been carried out in many places, is that it becomes a place in which decisions are cemented to society by a class of people who think they should be the ones to run things.

    This very much happens in market societies all the time, only that there's more smoke and mirrors involved. But it's the same concept of thinking that a few people know more than the rest of the population on what they should want or have.

    I think there should be loose-ish centers in which people decide what rules they want in society. One would only need as much central planning as is necessary and not more. You can't avoid large institutions, but you can temper the power they have to reflect the will of the majority.
  • James Riley
    2.7k
    but you can temper the power they have to reflect the will of the majority.Manuel

    But retain the power they have to prevent the will of the majority to exclude a minority.
  • frank
    9.2k
    think there should be loose-ish centers in which people decide what rules they want in society. One would only need as much central planning as is necessary and not more. You can't avoid large institutions, but you can temper the power they have to reflect the will of the majority.Manuel

    If a community decided to provide housing and food for all it's members, would central planning be required?
  • James Riley
    2.7k
    I don't know about the rest of the country, but out west we have coops. Some are food coops. Some are electric coops. Some are Ag coops. There are financial coops called credit unions. Any member of the community who accesses the purpose of the coop is a member of that community. All have a voice. There are boards, elected by the members. It's not centrally planned, but somebody has to run the show while members go about their business. It's kind of a commie thing, when you think about it. But don't tell that to any of the members I know. Even if there is not a competitive alternative.
  • Manuel
    1.9k


    It's not easy under any circumstance. I think minority rights could be respected in a more democratic society, but there's no guarantee.



    If they don't depend on any resources from others, then they could do without certain aspects of central planning. Of course, this depends on if we are picturing an ideal-ish society or what can be done within our current system.

    If we limit ourselves to the latter, we're going to have less choices to be creative about it.
  • frank
    9.2k
    If they don't depend on any resources from others, then they could do without certain aspects of central planning.Manuel

    I was thinking the opposite: the community would need to be mostly self sufficient for central planning. If a lot of their resources are imported, they're going to be dependent on bigger political entities and the same problem emerges: the people making decisions are too far away from the hardware of the economy.

    Free markets work. They foster creativity, they allow personal expression, they're adaptable and efficient.

    The moral argument for central planning just can't overcome those assets.
  • Manuel
    1.9k


    I'm not going to give you the "left wing" spiel you've probably heard thousands of times.

    I'll only limit my comments to saying that the institutions themselves are not the problem, it's the way they're used. Free markets - if they exist - would be good for trade. It would not be a good idea for a society, to think of a society like a market.

    Central planning - in so far as they can reflect the will of the majority - can be good for setting laws most people would agree to, such as having a police force of some kind, a universal justice system and so on. But it would also not be a good idea to foster the mentality of leaders in a society.

    But these terms are so loaded, they impede communication just as frequently, if not more so, than they can get a message across.
  • jgill
    1.6k
    Central Planning - to what extent? It worked well for Mussolini and Fascism for a short time after WWI.
  • frank
    9.2k
    Central Planning - to what extent? It worked well for Mussolini and Fascism for a short time after WWI.jgill

    A lot of my reading about Neoliberalism orbits around the Weimar Republic. I think it's supposed to be a case of catastrophic collectivism?
  • Tzeentch
    1.3k
    Central planning works for military operations, so why not use the same techniques for meeting the basic needs of citizens like food, shelter, and healthcare?frank

    Because military operations, war, are the most inhumane of human activities, concerned mainly with how to kill human beings as efficiently as possible. I can accept that such practices are a necessity if one wishes to conduct war, but to voluntarily invite them into other parts of society?

    I'n sure one's household could be made to run a lot more efficiently were one to apply some military principles in running it - whether that is going to lead to a happy family? I have my doubts.

    Central planning requires powerful governments, and individuals to wield that power. The vast majority of individuals is completely unfit to wield any type of power over others, let alone power of such magnitude over millions of people.
  • frank
    9.2k
    Because military operations, war, are the most inhumane of human activities, concerned mainly with how to kill human beings as efficiently as possible. I can accept that such practices are a necessity if one wishes to conduct war, but to voluntarily invite them into other parts of society?Tzeentch

    That's already happened. American factories used the same Prussian organizational structure that the US military uses. They learned about it from studying Napoleon apparently.

    And war is quintessentially human.

    The vast majority of individuals is completely unfit to wield any type of power over others, let alone power of such magnitude over millions of people.Tzeentch

    Interestingly this isn't a liberal point against central planning. You'd think it would be, but it turns out they need to protect liberalism from democracy, so they approve of authoritarianism.
  • Tzeentch
    1.3k
    And war is quintessentially human.frank

    In my opinion, it is quintessentially inhuman; animal, degenerate.

    “We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind.”

    The opening words of the Charter of the United Nations, and one of the few things that seperates human civilization from chimpanzees.

    Interestingly this isn't a liberal point against central planning. You'd think it would be, but it turns out they need to protect liberalism from democracy, so they approve of authoritarianism.frank

    Then they do not apply their ideas consistently, and thus hold little merit.
  • frank
    9.2k
    one of the few things that seperates human civilization from chimpanzees.Tzeentch

    They can also eat fibrous plant material that we can't. There's a "flaw" in our genetics that makes our jaw muscles weaker.

    You'd think it would be, but it turns out they need to protect liberalism from democracy, so they approve of authoritarianism.
    — frank

    Then they do not apply their ideas consistently, and thus hold little merit.
    Tzeentch

    When Hayek first started writing, the academic scene was dominated by leftists and they laughed at him (kind of in the same way people laugh about Rand as if she had nothing interesting to say).

    It's a different story after his ideas take over the world. :grimace:
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