Democracy and Economic Planning: The Political Economy of a Self-Governing Society

By McKay, Iain | Anarchist Studies, January 1, 2011 | Go to article overview

Democracy and Economic Planning: The Political Economy of a Self-Governing Society


McKay, Iain, Anarchist Studies


Pat Devine, Democracy and Economic Planning: The Political Economy of a Self-Governing Society Cambridge: Polity Press, 2010; 320pp, £20 ISBN: 978-0745634791

Originally published in 1 988 a few years before the crisis in Stalinism, Pat Devines model of a planned economy has been republished with a new preface during the crisis in neo-liberalism. He comprehensively discusses capitalist planning, central planning and market socialism before sketching his own economic vision.

Obviously inspired by Marx, Devine s system is at odds with Marx's comments on social planning - it retains money and so the wages-system (if not wage-labour) with 'an incomes policy to render effective the planned allocation of resources according to socially agreed priorities' (p.199). Despite his critique of market socialism, it retains markets, with Devine squaring that particular circle by invoking 'the crucial difference between market exchange and market forces' (p.22). The latter is when changes in 'the pattern of investment' and 'the structure of productive capacity' are driven by 'individual self-interest, not consciously coordinated by them in advance' (p.23). Instead, 'negotiated coordination bodies' would determine major investment decisions rather than individual production units. These 'would not be autarchic, atomistic competitors, although they would compete' (p.208) with 'the purchase and sale of commodities' (p.236) as workplaces offer their output for sale at cost-based prices' (p.24l).

Thus a workplace is 'completely autonomous with respect to its day-to-day operation and the use it made of its existing productive capacity', with its 'internal organisation' based on 'self-management', while investment would be 'agreed with its negotiated coordination body' (p.226). Yet it is not easy, in practice, to determine what is and is not major new investment, and at what level negotiation should take place. So while he urges decentralisation, his desire for 'social ownership as a necessary condition for social control and the abolition of exploitation and the anarchy of production' (p.8) may work against it.

His well founded desire to be inclusive also has perverse consequences. As well as existing (representative) governmental bodies there would be a 'chamber of interests' (with representatives from unions, consumers, campaigning groups, etc.) as well as planning commissions and negotiation bodies at every level. At the base, a production unit's governing body would reflect its workers, trade unions, community groups, consumer groups, planning commissions and negotiated coordination bodies (p.226). Looking at all the layers and bodies in this model, it is hard not to wonder whether, with all the meetings and negotiation, anyone would have time to do any work or, for that matter, reach a decision!

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Democracy and Economic Planning: The Political Economy of a Self-Governing Society
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.