Since the fall of the Soviet Union, capital and its ideology--liberalism, were finally able to spread across the whole of the globe. Today, the idea of a centrally planned economy (CPE) sounds extravagant, alien, or even insane to those who are more economically-savvy. Marxists have a duty to correct these misconceptions, but an even greater duty to determine what would be the solution to them, i.e. developing the theory of CPE as well as they can.
The central theses of this article are:
- (Liberal) democracy is an ideological deception (Lenin, Bordiga).
- Our current conceptions and feelings about CPE aren't authentc (i.e. they don't correspond to historical or theoretical reality).
- Market economies are our greatest enemy, and the way towards a global world optimum is a CPE.
- The far-left has a problem with this
A Note on Deception
Liberal and individualist ideology are dominant, sometimes explicitly (Rand), but usually implicitly. E.g., our leaders deceive us by implying that helping small bussinesses or entrepreneurs is in all of our interests--even the question of state capitalism (state firms and funds) is presented as something of interest to the working class.
What is the source of this deceiving power? As Bordiga would remark, the state is just one of the parasites in the hell of market economies, and it is, as well as lesser actors, parasiting of the working class. Again, how come? In large part, due to the working class being distracted by persuing individual or group trade interests--indeed social democracy and trade unions are a larger threat to communism than 'the right'.
Thus not a large amount of deception is required to sustain capitalism.
Democracy under Capitalism
Democracy for an insignificant minority, democracy for the rich — that is the democracy of capitalist society.
Democracy is a confusing term with many distinct interpretations. In this article, liberal and parliamentary democracy are of concern, which will be put in contrast with communism. (I refuse to use the term democracy in a positive manner.)
As Lenin said, parliamentary democracy serves to keep up the illusion of freedom and to help the parasites (capitalists) pass laws in their interests. Illusions are fed to people, and people are fed to capital. Liberal democracy is part of the superstructure which sustains this illusion of freedom, it is a false justification for our current awful system.
So the question is: what value, if not democracy, do we communists seek? Better society, but how? There are many concrete answers to this question, but the most important answer is tautological: we want a better society--this is our primary motivator, this is our personal drive.
Again though, how? Through learning and developing theory for, battling for, building, then protecting a socialist State.
Not democracy, not freedom, no--utility.
And I believe the question of the CPE is entirely central to all of these steps.
Unjustified fear of the CPE
As mentioned, the very mention of the idea of the CPE, is stigmatized today. Largely this is due to historical failures, and in this way is understandable, but that argument is extremely flawed because of one simple fact: the CPE in the way it was implemented was not in fact the only possible one, certainly not even as good as it could've been. The USSR might've functioned better if their political elites had listened to Leonid Kantorović, an economist whose ideas could have almost certainly optimized Soviet economic planning. But they were never implemented, only tested.
This brings us to the most important idea in this article, the counter-argument that there are infinitely many CPE models, whose utility varies. And it is our duty to develop the most optimal CPE. Very simple to say.
Market economies are the source of all of our ills. A lot of text is written focusing on why, I will try to explain how. However, a brief answer to the Why question is needed:
Why we suffer
The main problem with markets, except that they exist, is that they suboptimally allocate investments by the criteria for human need. The need of the market is the only relevant one, human needs are destructed: we are here only to reproduce ourselves and the market.
How we suffer
Here we need to look at empirical consequences of the Why question: are human needs fulfilled to the greatest extent possible?
Evidently not. Here's How:
- We waste our lives on work,
- We die of hunger
- We can be poor
- We can be homeless
- We are oppressed and mentally ill
- We don't have to.
I should, in a second edition of the article, provide empirical proof this happens because of the existence of the market economy.
Role of CPE theory under communism
We need the the theory of economic planning in order to solve the problems mentioned above. It should be implementednon a global level. It should be moneyless, centralized, and remain after the state dissolves as an apparattus (one of them).
What about the Left?
Forget the non-radical left. This is relevant exlusively for anarchists and Marxists--and other far-left, radical and socialist worldviews.
At the moment, this is one of the most serious issues of the far left--the idea that no work has to be done on developing CPE theory, modelling and studying markets, learning statistics, etc. The focus seems to be on interpersonal conflicts and sectarianism, pointless activism, or work on less relevant issues.
Marxism is science, and science is Marxism.