Planning and the Price Mechanism: The Liberal-Socialist Solution

Planning and the Price Mechanism: The Liberal-Socialist Solution

Planning and the Price Mechanism: The Liberal-Socialist Solution

Planning and the Price Mechanism: The Liberal-Socialist Solution

Excerpt

Many economists have recently published their views on the great economic issue which now confronts us: to plan or not to plan. Professor Hayek Road to Serfdom, Professor Robbins' The Economic Problem in Peace and War, Professor Jewkes' Ordeal by Planning, Mr. Harrod Are these Hardships Necessary?, Sir Hubert Henderson Rede Lecture on The Uses and Abuses of Economic Planning and Professor D. H. Robertson lecture to the British Association on The Economic Outlook are all notable contributions to this great debate. I too have not been able to resist the temptation. The following chapters began as a review of Sir Oliver Franks' Central Planning and Control in War and Peace, but grew inevitably into the present book.

Am I a planner? If a planner necessarily believes in a quantitative programme of output, employment and sales for particular industries, occupations and markets and the exercise of such direct controls by the State as are necessary to carry this out, I am certainly no planner. If an anti-planner necessarily denies that the State should so influence the working of the price mechanism that certain major objectives of full employment, stability, equity, freedom and the like are achieved, then I am a planner. The thesis of this book is that a large measure of state foresight and intervention is required to guide the economy from war to peace, to prevent inflationary and deflationary pressures, to ensure a tolerably equitable distribution of income and property, and to prevent or to control the anti-social rigging of the market by private interests, but that these objectives can be achieved in an efficient and a free society only if an extensive use is made of the mechan-

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