avatar
Albert Rejoins Green


Hi Joe,


I wonder where this piece is appearing. I am replying to you, here, but it would be nice if you could convey this to wherever you put your response…


I thank you, of course, for you ample interest! There is only so much time I can give to replying, however…so I have to do this a bit quickly, amidst other responsibilities. Apologies to readers, also, for including virtually the totality of Joe’s words in paragraphs preceeded by >, I know it is a bit cumbersome, but I think it is better for debate than my just referring to his views. This way you can judge if I am reading him fairly and fully.



>> Albert however didn’t take the time to make an overall assessment of the criticism I presented…


Actually, I commented on virtually every paragraph in the only essay I saw…so I am not sure what the above means…other than that you didn’t like my replies, I guess, and thought they were thin. Okay, I guess we disagree about that, unless you convince me of it below.


>> For example, he writes that he doesn’t know how I came to my view that, during the parecon
> planning process, most people don’t get much say on the big issues of the economy, that the facilitation boards (committees of experts) play a major role, and the preparation of the annual parecon plan is a long grueling process.


It would have been nice, I think, for purposes of clarity, had you replied to me as I have to you…providing context by quoting me, as I do you, and thereby letting me speak for myself rather than you paraphrasing…but…


As to the above — your first point — Yes, because, as noted, people get equal say or rather proportionate say. No one gets a whole lot of say, because influence or say is distributed  among the whole population. There are no Bill Gates, etc. This means some get more say, due to being more affected. For an investment in a dam in Michigan the people there will have more say, those displaced very great say, those at a greater distance who are less impacted by the choice, less say, etc. This is all described — you make no references to those descriptions. There was no indication that you think that this is not the case, nor any reason offered for thinking it isn’t the case. You just say, what you say above, which is very vague. In other words asserting that people don’t have great say over large scale decisions is vague to me. The whole populace makes those decisions, so the whole populace has all the say there is — as in any society. Each member of the whole populace, in a parecon, has what we claim is appropriate self-managing say. What you imply is that instead some small group is making the decisions and others have no impact. That is simply false, or we claim something diametrically different. You ignore that this issue is addressed, in detail, which is odd to me.


And — your second point — yes, because as indicated the facilitation boards are important — just like surgery is important, or researching solar power is important, and so on — but there is no way for those doing facilitation work (in balanced job complexes and remunerated for effort and sacrifice) to take advantage of their position, nor do they have disproportionate say or power by virtue of their labors as compared to other people labors. And this is argued even if facilitators exert judgment, much less if they merely follow prescribed algorithms, again as noted, in the reply to you, too. What you imply instead is that there are these boards and they are an implicit central planning or otherwise top down disproportionately empowered agency. You don’t mention that this precise question or issue is addressed in numerous places, including in a whole chapter responding to possible concerns. You don’t respond to any points raised about the issue. If you want to claim facilitation boards introduce some kind of flaw, then it seems to me you would need to show that people working at facilitation boards somehow would or even could skew outcomes toward their own interests…you don’t do that, nor do you even note the discussions of these exact points that we offer. You make it seem like you have found some problem — as compared to presenting a possible problem that we explicitly address ourselves, and you do so without commenting on our formulation and substance. It is hard to see what is worth doing in reply, other than pointing people to the book to decide for themselves.


And — your third point — regarding it being a long grueling plan, you stated that was the case, in your view, but you didn’t address that the planning would be done in a couple of weeks, as part of work time, and that the overall claims on time would be much much less than the claims of replaced attributes of other societies. Again, you didn’t note that we deal explicitly with your issue, literally as you raise it, not only in diverse places but again in a full chapter responding to possible concerns — you act instead as if you are uncovering something we are oblivious to — nor do you reply to any of the points we make. Is participatory planning grueling in the sense of taking more time than decision making about allocation now takes? Or grueling in the sense of taking more timethan that plus all the time saved due to various of its implications such as no more class concflict and time given to it? Is it grueling in that it places some strain on people — ignoring that it allows and facilitates equity, self management, etc. etc. I think, again, you are implying something but not actually saying precisely what, nor why…but what I really don’t understand is why you again, on this point too, ignore that we very explicitly raise about parecon the same issue, and offer our responses (far more carefully than I have time to do here). Why make no reference to this? Why not reply to the claims we actually make, if you are going to take the time to raise this issue at all?


> Yet the article contains a description of preparation of the annual parecon plan … It is this description, based on procedures that Albert and Hahnel specified in their writing, that leads to my conclusions about the nature of parecon planning. He doesn’t challenge my description


What we have is you calling one plausible approach grueling and me saying, no it isn’t. I guess the issue is, what does grueling mean?


Does it mean far more onnerous than time currently alloted to decision making? Or does it mean a general part of economic life accomplished without undo loss of time for production, without undo strain on actors, and in a manner producing classlessness, etc.?


>> — he just ignores it. Similarly, he says that he doesn’t have the faintest idea of why I say there is a central bank in parecon, but he ignores my discussion of the parecon financial system.


Actually, I didn’t quite ignore it, if you look again. I very quickly noted, that I believe, that what you were saying wasn’t about the system. And that slapping a familiar name on some set of new relations doesn’t really convey accurate information.


For example, suppose someone slaps the name central planning on participatory planning because it arrives, after all, at a social plan and isn’t a market, or slaps the name taxes on the fact that a part of the social product goes to social investment, or slaps the name bank on the fact that there is a total social output and that people can borrow and lend against their labors, or slaps the name market on the fact that in parecon people choose what they consume against their budget allotments and supply winds up equalling demand. These familiar words, if so applied, would be very misleading if people conjoured from them images of cental planning, taxes, banks, markets, etc., as we now know them. 


If someone looks at the old Soviet Union and says about it that due to supply equalling demand and people shopping in stores it is a market economy…and then a little later says, hey, I don’t like markets in the U.S. so I don’t like the old Soviet economy — it would a verbal trick, applying a label, and carrying over its meaning from another different system to where its meaning doesn’t apply. It would obscure rather than reveal.


That is what I think you have done, a few times, in your comments about parecon.


>> Parecon promotes itself as an anarchist vision, but it is not only directed against state-capitalist economic systems, but also against anarchist localism.


Parecon is different from capitalism, and coordinatorism — yes. But I wonder why you don’t seem to want to even acknowledge that we don’t call the old soviet model, or the yugoslav model, or related abstract models with public or state ownership but with markets or central planning and with corporate divisions of labor, by that new name as new class dominated systems. And parecon is different from any notion that the solution to markets or central planning is to effecitvely dispense with allocation by having only face to face engagements — yes, that is true, too.


>> Many anarchists believe in a system of autonomous collectives linked by simply by mutual aid and solidarity without any overall institutions.


Well, with all respect, this has little to do with reality…as I suspect you would agree…so I am not going to give time to it unless you propose this as some kind of problem with parecon. To say things are linked means that decisions are taken that impact them all, I assume.Okay, how are they taken — that will display the institutional strucuture. Someone may wish to say there should be no exchange — which is utterly ridiculous. Or someone might say it should be by markets, or by central planning, or by participatory planning, or by some other means — but to say it should occur without means — makes no sense.


>      However, in his book “Parecon: life after capitalism”,  Albert is careful how he expresses his opposition to anarchist autonomism, as he doesn’t wish to upset the adherents of other anarchist trends too much.


I hope it is just an artifact of language, and reallly unintended — but this seems to me to be obnoxious — or, perhaps the way you write and assume I do…but, in fact, not the way I write.


I don’t know what it refers to, since I have in fact written things that seem to cause many anarchists extreme displeasure…but my intention in the book, and here, and everywhere, is to simply say what I think as clearly as I can.


>>  seeks to sort of slide them over into parecon, rather than giving too close a look on its basic economic structure.


The idea that the book Parecon doesn’t give too close a look at the structure of parecon is a bit hard for me to fathom…I suspect most would say it is too detailed, too encompassing, rather than insufficiently so. Same for earlier books, for that matter.


>>this is why he seeks to downplay the role of centralism in parecon, brushing the mechanism of this aside as mere technical details.


These are all your words, all your formalism and language.


Participatory planning is deemed a central defining feature of parecon, and spelled out as best we can conceive it.


What I say is that parecon rejects central planning, period. That is, it incorproates a new approach in which instead of about 20% of the population being a ruling class which ultimately dictates inputs and outputs, all economic actors have proportionate say over the decisions that affect them. The claim is not only made as a kind of aspiration, moreover, but is given weight in institutional proposals.


>> imilarly, it is why he downplays the the role of the government apparatus in the parecon scheme, saying that he is only talking about economics, or even hinting that parecon might be compatible with a whole range of different ideas about government.


How about, instead of your picture of a calculating manipulation — that the reason the book Parecon isn’t about government is because, because, as stated, it is about economics — not to mention I don’t know enough about polity. For ideas about future pollitical forms that I very much like, however, see Stephen Shalom’s work which can be found in the Life After Capitalism section of ZNet.


I often urge that we need a political vision, and that I hope people will be forthcoming with one, as you know, but fail to note.


Parecon — the economy — to put it precisely, as the book does, would be incompatible with any polity that produces people anticipating subordinate or dominate roles, or any polity that had mechanisms denying or obstructing parecon’s economic processes. 


It follows, pretty tightly, that a polity that would be compatible with a parecon would have to produce along with social organization, justice, etc., solidarity, equity, diversity, and self management, or at least be compatible with these. I think that is the case, yes…but I haven’t thought through politics enough to be overly confident of any claims about it.


>> In his reply to me, Albert makes a big point about separating economics and politics. But it is this diplomacy towards the anarchists, not the supposed difficulty in discussing politics and economics in the same book or article, that leads to Albert’s peekaboo on the question of the state.


Apparently you have a machine, or perhaps intrinsic insight, that gives you privvy to my mind — very interesting.


Again, I recommend Shalom’s pieces. I have very strong views about the polity…but they are still quite incomplete — a broad statement I am confident about would be something like this –


Societies need to accomplish adjudication, legislation, and implementation of shared projects (which includes dealing with violations and anti-sociality) just like societies need to accomplish the economic functions production, consumption, and allocation. In my view societies should accomplish political functions via institutions that simultaneously enhance rather than subvert values we hold dear, which is the same as my view for economics. The values for polity I currently hold dear include solidarity rather than anti-sociality, diversity rather than homogenization, equity rather than exploitation, self management rather than authoritarianism and also justice, truth, and perhaps some others too, special to the polity, and needing to be spelled out. Shalom offers some thoughts on actual institutions able to accomplish all this, that I so far find quite compelling. None of this is about parecon, however, any more htan discussion of cultural vision (see Podur’s work in the same section, for example) would be about parecon. Though all of it would hopefully be compatible with parecon, and vice versa, each of course impacting the other in a society where they all existed.


>> Indeed, one really can’t divide parecon politics from parecon economics into two self-contained, separate compartments. The politics flows from the economic vision; a certain political sructure would be required by a parecon economy.


A compatible one would be required, yes — as we note repeatedly.
 
>>      What I did in my article on the structure of parecon was bring out various features of parecon without evasion. I tried to give readers an overall view of parecon structure, which is not easy to get from any single parecon article or book.


So, while it is hard to get such a picture from a whole book, you provided it?


With all respect, I think what you did, instead, was to use a few labels which by the baggage of their current meaning convey what you find (and I find) to be distasteful images…but readers who take a look at the book will be able to judge for themselves, of course


>>  I would help other activists, even those who very much disagree with my political standpoint, judge parecon for themselves, without having to spend as much time in research as I did.


I agree.
 
>>     A study of the overall economic structure of parecon will show that, while Albert seeks to avoid both anarchist localism and Stalinist bureaucracy, he instead borrows key features from anarchist localism, Stalinist bureaucracy and market-socialism. He proposes a system which, if it could actually be put into practice, would create the ironic situation of a society centered on a plan, and yet subject to marketplace forces and financial planning.


Well, as you said, readers can look and see what they think…
 
>> … his reply to me, Albert seeks to downplay the extent of parecon centralism and make a distinction between the annual parecon plan that governs the entire economy, and centralism. He argues, in essence, that the fact that parecon has an overall annual economic plan doesn’t mean  that it has central planning because, in his view, every society — even the free-market ones — have an overall anual plan and “a final list of inputs and outputs” for each year. He claims that the only difference between different economies is how their annual plans are prepared.


Repeatedly you paraphrase and offer your own words — invariably they incorporate a part of what I have said, but with what I think is considerable distortion. I don’t think it is intentional, I think it is how you read my words. But it is not what I think they say.


So, regarding this case, what differentiates different economic systems is, beyond periperal minor variation, having different defining insttitutions. This generally includes different ownership relations, different decision making norms and methods, different divisions of labor, different modes and norms of remuneration, and different allocation procedures. Thus, one difference between different economies — much less societies — is how they arrive at the year’s economic inputs and outputs, yes, but certainly it is not the only differenece, nor even the only profoundly important difference.
 
>>      Albert repeats this astonishing assertion about the universal nature of overall planning several times. This flies in the face of reality.


The astonishing assertion is that all economies wind up with inputs and outputs, which we can list, and which are a plan and that how they wind up with that set of outcomes varies in case to case ,largely as a reuslt of the allocation system employed. Not only is this observation not astonishing, it is commonplace.


Your comments were that because parecon has an overall plan — it has central planning, or what you call centralism. The fact of having a plan — or even of planning — implies central planning. This begs all the consequential issues by presuming the result in advance. I quoted you precisely in the prior piece. My reply was that every economy has an enacted set of inputs and outputs. Having outcomes doesn’t make an economy centrally planned nor does it demonstrate an embodiment of centalism — unless that is what the word centralism means to imply, and no more. The words you apply connote separate and alloof institutions which set exchange rates and amounts to be produced, and thus a narrow set of actors who do that, while the rest of the population respond merely with information and then obedience (as in central planning). Parecon, however, has none of that. There is no sector that has more say, there is no sector that merely obeys. In fact, any randomly of explicitly chosen sector has the same type and level of influence as every other, overall. There is a collective negotiation of the inputs and outputs in light of true social costs and benefits, with each actor having the same overall quality and quantity of rights and responsibilities, at least vis a vis the plan’s outcomes.


>> It obscures the massive divide between a planned economy and one subject to the anarchy of production. It obscures the need to consider the requirements necessary to actually have a planned economy, and is thus one of many thing that casts doubt upon where parecon could ever  be implemented as the economic plan for an entire region.


Well, if we didn’t very explicitly deal with all these issues, maybe this obscurantism would be somehow at play…but we do. It is correct, that in my reply to a very brief specific claim by you…I didn’t address other matters than that specific claim. If you were quoting me, things like this would be evident, I think.
 
>> Albert’s argument also slurs over the need for desirable types of planned economies to have such safeguards for people’s rights as respecting the divide between purely private interests and public interests, because allegedly the parecon plan automatically respects everyone’s interests and takes account, to the maximum extent feasible, of everyone’s desires and preferences.


We slur over x by proposing institutions that we claim accomplish x?


Suppose you advocate some kind of public or state ownership and remuneration like parecon’s so that no one can have unwarranted wealth — and then you don’t talk about incorporating structures to tax the rich so as to prevent them from getting too too rich…would that mean you were ignoring the need to have guards to preserve equity?


Suppose you say there isa  ban on all firms having more than 200 people working at them (to use an oddball example) and then you don’t discuss how to avoid alienation in firms of 1000 people or more. Would that mean you have slurred over the issue of large scale?


Haing discussed the ranged of decisions from more private to more public, and how in each actors have say in proportion to the degree they are effected — and the institutions that accomplish this — What sense does it make to say we have ignored safeguards?  THe institutions mean to address the issue by removing the problem entirely, rather than merely guarding against the most vile possible instances of it.


>> In the second part I will deal with the issue of how far  the mass of the population actually have a say in the major features of the annual parecon plan. He takes issue with my statement that parecon “is a planned economy, but whether it is a wisely- planned or democratically-planned economy is another question. It is `participatory planning’ at its worse: everyone has some say on some little thing, but most people have almost no say on the big issues facing the economy and society.” But he doesn’t show how people really would have input on the big issues.


Yes, I did take issue with it, And as with all the other substance I offered in reply, you are not going to comment on it.


I hope you will take actual examples — perhaps the one in the parecon book about how the citizens of chicago I think it was, impact a decision about a dam in michigan — if I remember right…
 
>>      In fact, in Albert and Hahnel’s writings, they frequently give examples of how workers at a particular enterprise might arrange their affairs. This is of course an attractive idea, but it is not one which is particular to parecon.


Nor is it claimed to be, contrary to your innuendo — but what is particular is the mode of remuneration and balanced job complexes and self management for decision making…


>> What they don’t show, is how the general population will determine the major overall issues of the economy.


Well, actually, we do show that…though I think you aren’t seeing it. It is via the collective resolution of the economic plan…the population engages in this determination both as consumers and as producers.


>> As the staff of a particular workplace, workers only get input in matters relating to their workplace and occupation.


This simply misunderstands the entire situation — and this particular misunderstanding runs through your discussion.


Suppose you are in a bicycle factory. When you are impacting the decision of how many bicycles to produce, or even how to organize your plant — it has implications for those outside your plant and indeed for the whole economy — and for that reason you can’t just decide, willy nilly, whatever you please. Rather, youi partake of a process which arrives at a set of mutually compatible decisions. Yes, you pay much more explicit attention to your plant than I pay to it if I live and work far away. But if I want a bicycle, I have some impact too, and even if I don’t, by virtue of my totality of preferences and their impact on the relative valuations of all goods, inclduing the steel you must use, and the rubber, and everything else — , I too have some impact on the outcomes in your plant. Everyone does. The claim for parecon, admittedly not something anyone should accept just based on the assertion — is that we all have the appropriate impact, or as closely as knowledge permits, at any rate.


>> As members of local consumption councils, consumers are focused on preparing their annual consumption plan and the neighborhood’s social services.


Of course, but they have to attend to the overall social product as well, to the duration of the average work week, to their own work which determines their budget, and to the relative vaulations of what they want, impacted by their desires and eveyrone else’s. As I tried to note — and you certainly haven’t quoted and seem to have ignored, economics is a wholly interactive — or general equillibrium system. What participatory planning does is convey appropriate influence to actors while arriving at true social costs and benefits for them to use in their judgements.


>> The iterative bidding system fr preparing the annual parecon plan, a system which Albert and Hahnel regard as their special contribution to the project of developing decentralized planning, makes it difficult for people to put forward, argue for, and express preferences for, the major projects facing the economy and the society.


No,. It doesn’t. These are, rather, dealt with openly and by the whole society. I guess if you actually offered some quotes of what we propose, and then your actual reasons for feeling it was flawed, I could reply…
 
>>      The question of the parecon planning system being of some importance, I will return to it in the third part of my reply. Albert denies the process of preparing the parecon plan is a long, grueling one. So I will go into more detail about the descriptions in Albert and Hahnel’s works of the various 5-round and 7-round processes used. These descriptions deserved to be more widely known about people thinking about parecon. Naturally there is no trouble in a workers council at a some enterprise deciding some issue which affects only them. But if you look at the process involved in setting the overall social plan for a parecon society, it is tedious and bogged down in trivialities.


I will be interested in seeing how so — but I should probably say I really do find your way of expressing all this odd. The first book, looking forward, and the new book parecon — couldn’t be any more graphic and descriptive, I think — at least not in my range of capability. Far more so — far far more so, then your summary statements, in fact.


So I wonder why you imply that you are searching and finding something that is hidden to convey to others — when, in fact, the descriptions are forefront and extensive, and what you are doing is only characterizing them, I think quite wrongly, and certainly without much of their actual substance.


>> In the fourth part, I will take up the question of whether parecon uses financial methods. Albert denies that the central parecon institution which has everyone’s financial accounts is a bank; that the parecon “cost-benefit ratio” has any resemblance to a profit rate; that parecon  buying and selling constitutes a market; and so forth.


Yes, I do — and I will stand by what I replied already. Which, I suspect, you are going to overwhelmingly ignore. I hate to say that, but so far, in this piece, you haven’t replied to any substance I offered, at least as far as I can see…which is going to make it increasingly unlikely I will offer a whole lot more, I suspect.


If you want to have a discussion, in other words, I would think you would give my words as much attention as I am giving yours…rather than reformulating them in your own phrases that deviate from my meanings.


>> In his reply to me, Albert quotes my statement that he and Hahnel believe that, if prices are set properly, then they “will be an adequate tool for planning to ensure the balancing of supply and demand, ecological improvement, efficient operation, moral principles, and the satisfaction of personal desires.” He agrees with this, “save for some subtle points about needing to recheck and recalibrate [prices] repeatedly” and “assuming, that is, that the prices are being used via an institutional framework” the operates according to parecon principles. This means that parecon planning aims to set up price-guided mechanisms to accomplish its social aims.


Here we have the continuing overarching confusion…


Of course parecon, like any economy, has actors making decisions in light of relative valuations of products and services, inputs and outputs. This does not tell us an economy is market or centrally planning focused — only that it is not utterly insane. Yes, that is sharp — but, indeed, I think it would be insanity to have an economy that determines what to produce and consume, in what quantities, without attending to the relative valuations of inputs and outputs. Where do relative valuations come from, howeer, is the next question. What institutions yield them, how are they utilized, by whom, to arrive at what type decisions about inputs and outputs. What implications are there, in the involved social processes and engagements, for remuneration, for allotement of decision making influence, and even for personality and behavior, and thus for solidarity, etc.


Parecon makes claims about participatory planning arriving at relative valuations (prices, if you wish) that truly account for full social costs and benefits — and doing so true to self management and with positive implications for the other varaibles mentioned above — implications that are hugely different than the properties of markets and central planning in these respects…due to the institutions participatory planning using entirely different logic, structures, and norms, etc.


All th ese options, markets, central planning, and participatory planning — and any other mode of economic allocation, for that matter — will implicitly or explicitly arrive at relative valuations and then at actual inputs and outputs utilized and produced. Saying that some economy one does that tells us literally nothing…beyond that it is economic. Saying how it does it — is revealing.
 
>>      But Albert denies that such price-guided mechanisms have anything in common with capitalist financial methods,


No, I say what they have in common — arriving at results, for example — and how they differ, for exmaple in the social processes involved, the logic, and the results arrived at.


Dictatorship and democracy and whatever would be a really desirable polity have in common accomplishing political functions — so what? It is that they do so by different methods and with different results that is crtiical, of course.


>> and he averts his eyes from the financial cycles in parecon. He thinks that price-guided mechanisms have nothing to do with marketplace methods since parecon institutions are run by  workers (beg pardon, workers and consumers), and not capitalist stock-owners. In effect, Albert believes that the capitalist financial methods are fine, provided they are directed by workers and consumers. But in fact these financial methods inevitably tend to reproduce marketplace results.


I think maybe we are going to come to a conclusion opf this discusion shortly because what you say I think and do rarely matches and even diverges overwhelmingly from what I do say (and do) and rebutting assertion after assertion that are divorced from the real topic at hand grows boring for all, I suspect.


So, in this case, market place mechanisms include prices. So do central planning mechanisms. So do participatory planning mechanisms. But in each case these prices have different relations to true social costs and benefits, due largely to being arrived at by different social processes, and have as well very different implications for actors and for outcomes.


You will find no comments by me that say anything remotely like what you write above as my views – rather, you will find utter and unrelenting rejection of market competition and the determination of relative values by that means…whether with or without the presense of private ownership — that is capitalist rule.


You will also find, in fact it is hard to see how you could have missed it given the time you have spent, that we say unequivically that if one established an economy with workers control, with balanced job complexes, with remuneration for effort and sarifice, but also with markets — the dynamics of markets would destroy the other comittments and yield, in time, coordinator rule ove rthe economy. We spell out how it would do so, in detail, tracing the outcome to the logic of market exchange. In other words, we do, in great detail, what you say we ignore.


Then we claim, however, that participatory planning doesn’t have the damning features — it doesn’t include a drive to accumulate, it doesn’t pit buyers against sellers, it doesn’t induce a pursuit of market share, and so on and so forth. It is, in other words, an entirely different instutition — whose features we present in considerable detail.


You critique is to repeat, over and over, that no, participatory planning embodies the same attributes as markets because it has prices, or borrowing, etc. I guess readers will have to judge for themselves, as you suggested earlier.
 
>>      In the fifth part I will take up whether there is an alternative to these financial methods. Albert argues in favor them (of course, he doesn’t call them financial methods), on the grounds that they are necessary to ensure efficiency. He thus regards it as completely ignorant, if not insane, to imagine that one can ever do away with these financial methods, and insists that “no sane system” can do away with them. He holds that if enterprises don’t measure their success in monetary terms, and calculate the renamed profit rate, they would simply produce goods that no one wanted, be inefficient, etc.  This is a similar claim to that of the market-socialists.


The claim that economic actors should not employ inputs that are very valuable to produce outputs that are not nearly so valuable as others they could have instead produced with those same inputs — and so on…is, yes, elementary and generally applicable. It has absolutely nothing to do with profits, however, as noted before, and ignored.


Different systems will arrive at valuations differently — some grotesquely, parecon appropriately — we argue.


>> However, the market-socialists openly defend the need for markets and marketplace methods, while Albert defends the market by claiming that the parecon market isn’t really a market, the parecon bank really isn’t a bank, and so on.


Yes, and so on — except of rht e part about defending the market — again, you fail to mention that there isa  whole chapter — in addition to content throughtout — devoted to the possible objection to parecon that is is, after all, a market system. You act as though we have no views on this matter — as compared to having explicitly raised it ourselves, as a possible concern people could have, and then answered it.
 
>>      Indeed Albert displays blank incomprehension that they can be any economic calculation other than financial calculation. …


Actually, once again…you are descccribing views that we don’t hold — so, for example, one of the central points of the descriptions of parecon is the need for qualitiative information, and qualitiative assessments, backing and alongside and governing the use of relative valuations, rather than total dependency on the latter. Throughout your discussions, it is very interesting to me, that every concern you have raised — save for their being a central bank — we anticipated, named and presented as aggressively as you do (and more so) and then responded to. I find it odd you make not note of that.


As to the above, our whole dicussion proceeds from asking what kinds of information producers and consumers need to conduct themselves socially and responsibly, and moves on from there.


The reply I sent to your piece has all this repeated, and again you just ignore it. Hard to see what will be gained by responding again, I have to say.


>>      In the sixth section, I will go into the question Albert raises of whether, in a parecon economy, anyone can benefit  at the expense of others. Albert makes a big deal that his method aren’t really financial methods because no one can benefit.


Over and over you say I do or say x — but there is no quote. This is your formulation. I bet I never use the phrase “financial methods” at all, anywhere. I could be wrong, but I would be willing to bet that…unless it is quoting you or someone, I guess. I am not sure what it even could mean, or what you mean to connote by it. If you mean, however, to connotes use of prices — that is, to connoate taking into account rlelative valuations, well, yes, that is part of economic life, to be sure. I would never and have never claimed that parecon avoids that. I t could not sensibly avoid that, nor is there any reason it ought to try to avoid that. If you mean pursuing economic outcomes to maximize surplus, then, no, parecon does not have that attribute.


You implied it did in your essay, trying to equate concern for utilizing inputs in accord with valuations as maximizing profit, I responded saying it wasn’t, and not ing why, and you ignored it, here.


>>      In part seven I will go into some questions concerning government and the relationship of economics and politics. Albert raises that a wall between economics and politics, and between parecon and the issue of government.


No, I simply say that I have little to say at this time about government…polity, which is quite different then saying there is a wall, etc. Again, this is asserting to me views I simply do not hold.  What I do say is that we need a polity, it will have to accomplish certain functions, and a polity that would like would accomplish those functions in accord with values I hold dear — including those of parecon. I recommend Shalom’s work, again.


>> He waves away several sore points in parecon on the grounds that they supposedly don’t concern economics. In fact, politics and economics can’t be neatly separately in this way, and a parecon economy requires a certain political structure or it can’t exist.


It requires a polity, and one that is compatible, yes. These are points I make, repeatedly, however.


>> For example, Albert says “adjudication” of disputes is a separate issue from the parecon economy itself. But to say that every person has an influence over decisions precisely to the degree in which they affect one, but then say nothing about how one “adjudicates” disputes over how much a decision affects one, makes the general concept of parecon decision-making into a farce.


Yes, well, I guess it does for you…so be it.


But by this logic virtually every economics book every written is a farce because it isn’t also about all other dimensions of social life.


You may not be particularly concerned about — as another central feature of society — kinship, but I am. So, for example, I know that every economic structure and act also invovles gender relations, and will have its full definition only in a real society — not in the abstract — where there are men and women and sexuality and children and socialization and so on, and institutions for all of these, which will, as well, impact the content of economic exchange — just like the existence of a polity will.


But noting this, as we do, very explicitly in the book –as with virtually every other point you have raised — doesn’t preclude our talking about economics now, or economic vision now, short of there existing a full parallel kinship vision (or political vision).


You are being disengenuous, it seems to me, over and over, when you fail to note that you haven’t raised any points which we don’t, in fact, state ourselves as possible objectiions — and when you don’t note that we not only raise them, but we reply to them, and when you don’t bother to explain why you think our replies are inadeuqate.


Okay, maybe you will do it all down the road sometime.

Leave a comment