Thursday, November 29, 2012

Manager, Bureuacrats, and the Coordinator Class

The basis of any society is the way its members are organised for the production of wealth. Where a section only of society controls the means of production then we can speak of a class society.
The class that controls the means of production can be said to constitute a stable ruling and privileged class when it:
1. controls the use of the means of production (possession);
2. controls the state (rule);
3. has preferential treatment in the allocation of goods for consumption (privilege).

These three feature — possession, rule and privilege— don't always necessarily or automatically go together. It is possible for a possessing class to be neither the ruling class nor a privileged class. For instance, it might not actually control the state but just have its protection against the excluded majority. Another minority class might control the state and use it to allocate itself, at the expense of the possessing class, a privileged consumption. In this case there is a socially and politically unstable situation in which the possessing class, starting from the finally decisive fact of controlling the means whereby society lives, will strive to capture state power for itself—strive to become the ruling class as well as the possessing class. This done, it can easily end the privileged consumption of the previous ruling class.

 Marx quotes Dr. Ure as saying in 1840, that not the industrial capitalists but the industrial managers "are the soul of our industrial system." (Capital, vol. 3). It is of course true as the managerial theorists say that the unity between owners of capital and the actual direction of production has been ruptured. Joint stock companies (corporations) operate not merely with their own capital but other peoples. Of them Marx says, "Capital ... is here directly endowed with the form of social capital ... as distinguished from private capital and assumes the form of social enterprise as distinguished from private enterprise. It is the abolition of capital as private property within the boundaries of capitalist production itself." Marx adds, that it leads to the "transformation of the actually functioning capitalist into a mere manager, and administrator of other peoples capital and the owners of capital . . . into mere money capitalists." (Capital, vol. 3) Marx did not believe the development of the corporation to be a step towards socialism. Collective capital, he said, although it gave impetus to the social character of wealth production could never overcome, but only intensify the antagonism of socially produced wealth and private appropriation. He also added that the development of the corporation and “the credit system, brings a new set of parasites . . . promoters, speculators …  a whole system of swindling by means of corporation juggling, stock jobbing and stock speculation. It is private production without the control of private property." (Capital, vol. 3,)

Marx dealt with the replacement of the capitalists as industrial entrepreneurs by managers. The early capitalists, while not producing surplus value, supervised the activities of those who did. This appropriation of unpaid labour was called the profits of enterprise. The economic apologists of the day also called it the wages of superintendance. With the vast growth of capitalism the function of the capitalist as a representative of capital became delegated to managers, whose wages of superintendence was fixed at the market price and was but a mere fraction of what the capitalist had appropriated for such work. Managers are then agents for the capitalists and hence agents for capital. Managers constitute the elite of the amorphous mass called by some people the new "middle class." It includes civil servants, professional workers, office staff, salesmen, etc. They are also known as the salariat. The requirement of large scale capitalism has brought about a considerable increase of these types of employees.

Marxist model gives primacy to the concept of the "mode of production". It is the mode of production which essentially defines the kind of society we live in and by this is meant the combination of relations and forces of production. Technological determinists, on the other hand, tend to focus on the "forces of production" . Marxists point out that the world was not divided into two opposing social systems each rooted in distinctive mode of production. There was instead a single world system based on a capitalist mode of production with so-called communist countries representing a variant of this mode of production—namely, capitalism run by the state, or "state capitalism".

 A few months before the outbreak of the Second World War was published in Paris a book entitled La bureaucratisation du monde. Its author was Bruno Rizzi.  The book’s main theme was that capitalism was being replaced throughout the world by a new social system called "bureaucratic collectivism". This was, like capitalism, a class-divided society based on the exploitation of the producers but one in which the capitalists had been replaced as the exploiting class by a bureaucracy which collectively owned the means of production through the State. The transition to Bureaucratic Collectivism, said Rizzi, had been completed in Russia, was well on the way to completion in Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy and had also begun in the old capitalist democracies with measures such as the New Deal in America. The idea that Russia under Stalin was pro-working class was so patently absurd that, towards the end of the Thirties, it began to be challenged even within the Trotskyist movement. In France Yvan Craipeau suggested that Russia might be some new class society with the bureaucracy as the collective owning and exploiting class. In America James Burnham argued that, although Russia was not capitalist, it could not be described as a “Workers’ State” either. Rizzi followed, and took part in the French Trotskyists’ discussion of this issue and clearly derived many of his ideas and arguments from it. Burnham, however, called this new society “managerial society” and not “bureaucratic collectivism”. This is significant and a reason for concluding that Burnham did not simply plagiarise Rizzi. For Burnham rejected the term “bureaucratic collectivism” precisely because he held that the new ruling class would not be the political bureaucrats but rather the industrial managers, who were directly involved in production. In the final chapter of his book he distinguished his theory from what he called “the similar theory of the bureaucratic revolution”, a reference to theories such as Rizzi’s. Further, Burnham had suggested that Russia might be some sort of “non- bourgeois, non-proletarian State” before Rizzi wrote his book. Rizzi continued to regard the Russian revolution as a proletarian one. Burnham, on the other hand, had no hesitation in declaring: “The Russian revolution was not a socialist revolution . . . but a managerial revolution” Rizzi, Burnham, Schachtman, Dunayevskaya, James and the others drew their ideas from a common pool provided by the discussion in the Trotskyist movement on “the nature of the Soviet State”. In this discussion all sorts of ideas were put forward even if only to be rejected by those who brought them up: that the bureaucracy was a class; that Russia was state capitalist; that a class could own without legal property titles; that Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany had the same social system . . . In these circumstances it is quite out of place for one of the participants to claim that he was plagiarised by another. Rizzi can however be allowed to regard himself as the originator of the term “bureaucratic collectivism”. In any event, “the theory of the bureaucratic revolution” was proved wrong. Since both Rizzi’s and Burnham’s books were written, but the capitalist class in the West are as firmly established as ever and show no signs of being ousted by industrial managers or a political bureaucracy.

It is true that in Russia the exploiting class collectively own the means of production and do not have legal property titles to it, and in this respect they do differ from the capitalist class of the West. But, to use a phrase of Marx’s which comes up in Rizzi’s book, this does not necessarily mean that “the specific economic form in which unpaid surplus labour is pumped out of the direct producers” is different. In fact it is basically the same: the producers are separated from the means of production and, in order to live, are forced to sell their labour-power for a wage or salary. In the course of their work they create, over and above the value of their labour power, a surplus value which is realised when the commodities in which it is embodied are sold. Thus in Russia, as in the West, the working class are exploited through the wages system. All the other features and categories of capitalism also exist in Russia: commodity production, value, profits, capital accumulation, and so on. The difference – in the form of ownership but not of exploitation – between Russia and capitalism in the West is best indicated by referring to Russia as State capitalism.

Supporters and opponents alike often mistakenly analyse this tendency towards state capitalism as socialist. Indeed, as a result of years of misuse the word “socialism” has now virtually come to mean “state capitalism” for most people. But socialism must be clearly distinguished from State capitalism otherwise the working class will be intervening on the political scene only to support State capital against private capital, just as in the last century they intervened to support the industrial capitalists against the landed aristocracy.

Theorists Rizzi and Burnham rejected the view that Russia could be described as state capitalism. Both of them regarded Russia as a new class society: "bureaucratic collectivism" for Rizzi and "managerial society" for Burnham. More recently,  Solidarity and "Paul Cardan" was also there before the Parecon model creator, Michael Albert, talked similarly of a co-ordinator class which existed in Russia.

This rejection of a state capitalist analysis was an inheritance from their Trotskyist past where they had learned to identify capitalism with private capitalism. For Trotsky, capitalism could not exist without private property titles vested in individuals; for him "state capitalism" was state control of private capitalist industry.

There is a variation of the managerial theme which holds that the complex character of automation will produce a race of technicians upon whom the capitalists will be so utterly dependent that they and the managers will be able to hold the big capital owners to ransom and impose their own terms upon the system. In substance these arguments were put forward by technocrats thirty years ago. They argued that the ever-growing complex technical evolution of the system would result in the power of control passing to technicians and administrators, who would be small and compact enough to hold the capitalists to ransom. Experience shows, however, that the technical requirements of capitalism have never failed in the long run to bring about a generous, sometimes over-generous supply of necessary technicians, and there is no reason to suppose that automation technicians either now or in the future will not be as liberally forthcoming as they have been in the past.

To the structure of this alleged new ruling class there has been added another component, the bureaucrats. Although what role they are supposed to play in the economy and in what manner they fuse with the managers, is never made concretely clear.

Claims that the Bureaucratic State is not capitalism at all, but a new kind of social arrangement in which the power of the capitalist class has been broken and the control of society passed into the hands of “the managerial class,” managers, supervisors, highly paid technicians, etc. This view owes its origin to an American doctrine known as “Technocracy.” The fundamental error common to both these schools of thought was to assume that capitalism in every country must have identical features, political and economic, forgetting that in each case exists a different historical background which is bound to give varying trends and twists to each country’s evolution.

Both Russian and Western commentators have called Bogdanov an advocate of “technocracy” and the promoter of a “cult of the engineer.” Bogdanov’s fiction and his political writings suggest that he expected the coming revolution against capitalism to lead to a technocratic society. This was because the workers lacked the knowledge and initiative to seize control of social affairs for themselves. One reason for this situation was the hierarchical and authoritarian nature of the capitalist production process. Another was the hierarchical and authoritarian mode of organization of the Bolshevik party, although Bogdanov considered such organization necessary and inevitable—he was a Bolshevik, after all. This, however, was not a prospect that Bogdanov welcomed or idealized. He knew that real socialism (or communism) could only be a fully democratic society. And he knew that only a highly cultured Metropolis - another 1920's Dystopic vision and knowledgeable working class could achieve real socialism

Parecon's Coordinators

The thesis of coordinatorism asserts, namely, that the USSR was a new mode of production based on a new ruling class dominating and exploiting the immediate producers.

So under the Soviet system the immediate producers are dominated and exploited by a ruling class just like under capitalism. The fact that the soviet ruling class were fixated with converting the surplus value of the exploited immediate producers into further expanding capital, the essence of the mode of capitalist production, is surely beyond contention. So why is it not capitalism?

The new coordinating class organised themselves collectively into the body of the state which was the instrument which confronted and exploited the working class. If the state in the USSR was not the collective of the coordinating class exploiting the workers what was it? We can split hairs over Coordinating Class capitalism, coordinatorism, bureaucratic collectivist, or state capitalism, the workers being exploited however would probably fail to see or be interested in any differences in the mode, if there is any. Pareconists  Leninists and Trotskyists share some basic common ideas.

The suggestion that the ideas presented by the Parecon people on the Coordinator class are somehow new is nothing but a chimera, it is nothing even upon a superficial analysis but a fusion of old Leninist and Trotskyist ideas re hashed and re packaged with a libertarian label. The parecon position is essentially that it is not the Soviet economic model itself that is or was the problem but how it was managed. The problem was that a coordinating managerial class, the Communist Party, had monopolised the decision making process, economic planning, taking it away from the control of the working class. The new managerial class then proceeded to use that monopoly of power to serve their own interests at the expense of the non coordinating class.

In fact, Alberts ideas are related to those of Trotsky and the ex-Trotskyist James Burnham, all that has changed is the skin, from "degenerate workers state" to "Coordinatorist". It is not particularly difficult  to see parecon Coordinatorist ideas presented below. One would hope that for a so-called libertarian finding such antecedents to your new ideas might be somewhat embarrassing.

Cannon, backed by Leon Trotsky held that the USSR was a degenerated workers state while Shachtman and Burnham contended that the Soviet Union was bureaucratic collectivist and thus not worthy of being supported even critically. The specific event which led to the dispute was the Soviet invasion of Finland in November 1939.

The party dispute led to Shachtman, Burnham and their supporters leaving the SWP in 1940 but soon after Burnham broke with Shacthman and left the communist movement altogether and worked for the Office of Strategic Services during the war. For James Burnham; "A new managerial class, rather than the working class, was replacing the old capitalist class as the dominant power in society. The managerial class included business executives, technicians, bureaucrats and soldiers. He gave Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union as clear examples. Burnham's theory is sometimes thought to have been influenced by Bruno Rizzi's 1939 book La Bureaucratisation du Monde; but despite similarities, there is no evidence that Burnham knew of the obscure book outside of some brief references to it by Trotsky."

Parecon respond "That is, Marxism obscures the existence of a class which not only contends with capitalists and workers within capitalism, but which can become ruler of a new economy, aptly called, I think, coordinatorism." And "Far more important than these failures, what I want to focus on is that in virtually every variant of Marxism, Marxist class theory literally denies the existence of what I call the coordinator (professional-managerial or technocratic) class and undercounts its antagonisms with the working class as well as with capital. This particular failing has long obstructed class analysis of the old Soviet, Eastern European."

And from ourselves;

"Trotsky was set out in his book The Revolution Betrayed first published in 1936. This is the origin of the Trotskyist dogma that Russia is a "degenerate Workers State" in which a bureaucracy had usurped political power from the working class but without changing the social basis (nationalisation and planning).

This view is so absurd as to be hardly worth considering seriously: how could the adjective "workers" be applied to a regime where workers could be sent to a labour camp for turning up late for work and shot for going on strike? Trotsky was only able to sustain his point of view by making the completely unmarxist assumption that capitalist distribution relations (the privileges of the Stalinist bureaucracy) could exist on the basis of socialist production relations. Marx, by contrast, had concluded, from a study of past and present societies, that the mode of distribution was entirely determined by the mode of production. Thus the existence of privileged distribution relations in Russia should itself have been sufficient proof that Russia had nothing to do with socialism.

Trotsky rejected the view that Russia was state capitalist on the flimsiest of grounds: the absence of a private capitalist class, of private shareholders and bondholders who could inherit and bequeath their property. He failed to see that what made Russia capitalist was the existence there of wage-labour and capital accumulation not the nature and mode of recruitment of its ruling class.

Trotsky's view that Russia under Stalin was still some sort of "Workers State" was so absurd that it soon aroused criticism within the ranks of the Trotskyist movement is itself which, since 1938, had been organised as the Fourth International. Two alternative views emerged. One was that Russia was neither capitalist nor a Workers State but some new kind of exploiting class society. The other was that Russia was state capitalist. The most easily accessible example of the first view is James Burnham's The Managerial Revolution and of the second Tony Cliff's Russia: A Marxist Analysis. Both books are well worth reading, though in fact neither Burnham nor Cliff could claim to be the originators of the theories they put forward. The majority of Trotskyists, however, remain committed to the dogma that Russia is a "degenerate Workers State". "

We can see some of the parecon perspectives in article by Chris Spanos at;

Here "Central Planning" is the flawed coordinatorist system of the old soviet system and "Democratic Planning" is the Parecon system the difference is that in "Democratic Planning" the "central plan" is democratically decided. Thus for the centrally planned economy;

"The first system is "Central Planning". When we think of central planning, the model that comes most to mind is the Soviet model of central planning that was prevalent throughout most of the 20th Century. Other countries that adopted variations of that model are North Korea, Cuba, China, as well as Eastern Europe. They all had different variations. But the broad strokes, the broad contours of those economies were essentially the same -- centrally planned economies.

The dominant characteristics of centrally planned econonomy... a central planning authority; the economic outcome of society was generated by an economic plan. There were a variety of different economic plans that were used; there were short term plans, annual plans, five year plans, long term plans, etc. However, the key issue here is that implementing a plan was mandatory."

As it would have to be in Parecon.

"That is why this kind of economy is often referred to as "Directive Planning", "Imperative Planning", or as a "Command Economy". The economic process of central planning can be described as a mammoth bureaucracy where hundreds of thousands of functionaries in the Communist Party, the state administration, the firm, and cooperative management, and the mass organizations negotiate, calculate, renegotiate and recalculate before the millions of planning commands emerge at all levels. Basically, planners would call in information about the state of the economy and the state of peoples economic desires within society. They would massage that information and come up with a plan to be implemented. They would decide who was going to do what, what gets produced, how much is produced and where it's going to go."

All this "mammoth bureaucracy" and "calculate, renegotiate and recalculate before the millions of planning commands emerge at all levels" of a centrally planned economy would be nothing like the Democratically Planned Parecon described at some safe distance later for those with a short attention span. Thus in ;

"Participants are organized into federations of workers and consumers councils who negotiate allocation through "decentralized participatory planning". Workers in worker councils propose what they want to produce, how much they want to produce, the inputs needed and the human effects of their production choices. Consumers
propose what they want to consume, how much they want to consume and the human effects of their consumption choices. "Iteration Facilitation Boards" (IFB) generate "indicative prices", using both quantitative and qualitative information, which is used by workers and consumers to update their proposals for further rounds of iterations. The IFB whittles proposals down to a workable plan within five to seven iterative rounds. A plan is chosen and implemented for the coming year."

A democratically "mandated" plan presumably.

 Elsewhere in this interesting piece we have a familiar resume to Trot watchers of what went wrong in the Soviet "Revolution Betrayed" and more of Burnham`s,winner of Reagan's Presidential Medal of Freedom, Managerial Revolution ideas ;

"The rational behind the system of central planning was that the planners could, using as much information as they could gather, get the best possible economic plan for society. And many people honestly believed that they were in the first stages of socialism; that communism, a future stateless and classless society was to come.

They had a grand vision for society and for human beings and therefore had some honourable motivations. However, there were others who were corrupted by bureaucratic power, by filling those institutional roles and relationships within the model of central planning. They had the information. They had power. Their capacity for decision making far surpassed how much they were affected by the outcome of their economic plans. They were the planners and managers, what is called the coordinator class. They accrued material rewards that were associated with the kind of power they held over the economy. Likewise, workers decision making power was token and dwarfed in comparison to that of the coordinators."

And some more standard leftwing ideas on how and why it all went terribly wrong;

"Internal explanations range from war ("war communism"), civil war, famine, and rapid industrial development of a largely rural country in competition with western capitalist nations. External factors were hostile western nations forcing a Cold War onto the Soviet Union causing the SU to focus primarily on military industrialization."

After some faint praise for the Yugoslav experiment we have something interesting;

"Also, by using markets we assume that human nature is greedy, individualist and competitive. I would even argue that this is true for all the above cases of Market Socialism; where people did have some very strong ideals that were honourable, unfortunately, the market institution, and I would say, Market Socialism, makes these assumptions about human nature as well. They don't try to imagine more liberating institutions or human behaviour."

Perhaps Chris Spanos could address this to his fellow Pareconists Tom Wetzel who makes "these assumptions" and clearly fails "to imagine more liberating institutions or human behaviour." like free access socialism for example. So from Tom Wetzel;

"For one thing, isn't this" ie to each according to need"just an encouragement to the most greedy and aggressive to consume more, and leaving less for those who are not as self-assertive of their "need" or who have more scruples? And is that the sort of result we want to encourage? And don't we want to limit the amount of time we all have to spend working? And how can we do that if
there is no limit to what people consume?"

So much for;

"Parecon is the most serious effort I know to provide a very detailed possible answer to some of these questions, crucial ones, based on serious thought and careful analysis."-- Noam Chomsky

And just to injure us some more with a tarred brush from Michael Albert;

"First there is Marxism's general taboo against "utopian" speculation. Second, Marxism tends to presume that if economic relations are desirable other social relations will fall into place. Third, Marxism confuses what constitutes an equitable distribution of income.

"From each according to ability to each according to need" is utopian and curtails needed information transfer and has in any event never been more than rhetoric for empowered Marxists and their alternative "from each according to work and to each according to contribution to the social product" is not a morally worthy maxim
because it would reward productivity, including genetic endowment and differential tools and conditions. And fourth and most damning, in practice and in its substantive prescriptions (though not always it rhetorical entreaties), Marxism approves hierarchical relations of production and command planning or markets as means of allocation. "

"First there is Marxism's general taboo against "utopian" speculation." And then we are accused; "The idea that an economy could work without money I regard as hopelessly utopian." We suppose our utopian speculation is "bad" as opposed to the "good" utopian speculation of the Parecon people.


 Burnham's theory became an issue in the Fourth International of Our interpretation of Burnhams theory was "that Russia was neither capitalist nor a Workers State but some new kind of exploiting class society" The most easily accessible example of" this view is James Burnham's The Managerial Revolution

What is the difference between this and Alberts; "the existence of a class" managerial "which not only contends with capitalists and workers within capitalism, but which can become ruler of a new economy, aptly called, I think, coordinatorism."


"what I call the coordinator (professional-managerial or technocratic) class and undercounts its antagonisms with the working class as well as with capital. This particular failing has long obstructed class analysis of the old Soviet, Eastern European."

As to Trotsky's view, that we have no sympathy with either, thus;

"The Revolution Betrayed first published in 1936, is the origin of the Trotskyist dogma that Russia is a "degenerate Workers State" in which a bureaucracy" - The coordinating class - "had usurped political power from the working class but without changing the social basis (nationalisation and planning)."

Just what is the difference between this, Trotsky's position, and the Parecon position other than claiming that the "degenerate Workers State"/ "Coordinatorism", same thing - different label, is an as yet unsubstantiated new mode of production.

The Parecon argument must be that the planned exploitation of the Soviet workers by the coordinating class of the state, is state exploitation rather than state capitalism. We may have an interesting argument about whether or not the coordinating class is the state.

Capitalism is where a class eg the coordinating class, through its monopoly ownership and control of the means of production uses that ownership and control to exploit a working class that have been dispossessed of the means of their own subsistence in order to provide unearned revenue for the ruling class and to expand the base capital that they own and control. We may also get another familiar anti-state capitalist argument that as no one owns capital in the soviet system there can be no capitalists. Ownership of something without any control over the use of it or benefits that can be derived from it makes ownership meaningless. Control over something and obtaining benefits from it is ownership, anything else is sophistry.

The coordinating class of the Soviet system collectively controlled and thus owned the capital, means of production, of the USSR, just like share holders collectively own the capital of a company. They therefore collectively capitalised on their monopoly control of the means of production as a class and collectively collected their state dividend obtained from the surplus value of the exploited working class.

The possible assertion that as some of the Soviet coordinating class were actively engaged in coordinating the production process and therefore because of that were somehow not capitalists becomes unconvincing when we look at the entrepreneurial capitalists of the 19th century.

The division of profits, representing the relative effective control of capital between the owners of capital, "interest bearing capital", and the "coordinating class" or entrepreneurial capitalists that actually engage in the direct exploitation of labour is dealt with in detail in chapter XXIII of Vol III. The idea of a coordinating class exploiting labour is as old as that, originally Marx's idea who the Pareconists are so quick to dismiss.

As to "there is not hired labour" in Parecon, well the fact that we believe there will be hired labour is the whole point of our objection to the Parecon argument. So in Parecon workers won't be hired they will be remunerated.

Hire; "To acquire the temporary use of (a thing) or services of (a person) in exchange for payment." Remunerate; "To reward or pay for work, service etc" A difference too subtle for socialists.

The "abolish money idea" does not derive for us from a "confusion of money and capital" but from the idea of Karl Marx, abolish the wages system. Likewise the "allocation of resources" would be based on self determined need and given according to self determined ability.

from :-

Market capitalism
So there is no market in Parecon. So from ;
We have; "If you want to consume coal and you have to pay more, you would think twice." "but in the negotiation process, if the demand exceeds the supply, the price could go up." "This will encourage consumers to find cheaper alternatives" "Indicative prices help demand and supply converge in the end."

Confused you bet, just how many versions of Parecon are there. Just to go over it once again

Parecon wanted  an answer to whether the SPGB and advocates of a moneyless economy desired one of three options for the allocation of resources -
1. market
2. central planning
3. participatory planning

We would rather describe our option as a self regulating , self adjusting inter-linked and inter-dependent system. Decisions will be made at different levels of organisation: global, regional and local with the bulk of decision-making being made at the local level. In this sense, a socialist economy would be a polycentric, not a centrally planned economy. Free access to goods and services denies to any group or individuals the political leverage with which to dominate others .

Industries and productive units could use mathematical aids to decision-making such as operational research and linear programming to find the most appropriate technical method of production to employ. As neutral techniques these can still be used where the object is something other than profit maximisation or the minimisation of monetary costs.

Another technique already in use under capitalism that could be adapted for use in socialism: so-called cost-benefit analysis and its variants. Naturally, under capitalism the balance sheet of the relevant benefits and costs advantages and disadvantagesof a particular scheme or rival schemes is drawn up in money terms, but in socialism a points system for attributing relative importance to the various relevant considerations could be used instead.

Such alternatives to central planning are more fully explained at :- fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=4018139&blogID=125680221&MyToken=e74668d4 -db9d-4bf3-a533-674f54df3b09

Since the needs of consumers are always needs for a specific product at a specific time in a specific locality, we will assume that socialist society would leave the initial assessment of likely needs to a delegate body under the control of the local community (although, once again, other arrangements are possible if that were what the members of socialist society wanted). In a stable society such as socialism, needs would change relatively slowly. Hence it is reasonable to surmise that an efficient system of stock control, recording what individuals actually chose to take under conditions of free access from local distribution centres over a given period, would enable the local distribution committee (for want of a name) to estimate what the need for food, drink, clothes and household goods would be over a similar future period. Some needs would be able to be met locally: local transport, restaurants, builders, repairs and some food are examples as well as services such as street-lighting, libraries and refuse collection. The local distribution committee would then communicate needs that could not be met locally to the body (or bodies) charged with coordinating supplies to local communities.

Once such an integrated structure of circuits of production and distribution had been established at local, regional and world levels, the flow of wealth to the final consumer could take place on the basis of each unit in the structure having free access to what is needed to fulfil its role. The individual would have free access to the goods on the shelves of the local distribution centres; the local distribution centres free access to the goods they required to be always adequately stocked with what people needed; their suppliers free access to the goods they required from the factories which supplied them; industries and factories free access to the materials, equipment and energy they needed to produce their products; and so on.

Within th SPGB's concept there does exist a flexability in determining allocation of resources and determinining the requirements and wishes of communities .

There does indeed remain with those of us who desire a moneyless economy a justified suspicion that Parecon wish for a capitalism without the capitalists, just as the anarcho-capitalists desire capitalism without the state. Who just are the real utopians ?

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