The Third Place: Higher Education of Central Planners and State Commissariats (Pt. I of II)

Becoming a Central Planner of the Ministry of Economics or the Superintendent of the State Commissariats confers many Legal Duties and Legal Rights related to Mission-Type Economic Planning (MTEP). The Central Planners, in addition to overseeing the affairs of their subordinate Economic Planners, are responsible for the largest Enterprises across different Industries within the VCS Economy. A similar role is filled by the Superintendents, something that was established earlier in the three methods of applying Council Democracy in the VCS Economy. What has yet to be addressed, up until now, is the role of tertiary-level education–the universities–in the training and fostering of their leadership and organizational skills. The Council State, like the Totality, wants only the best of the best in command of operating every aspect of MTEP.

Council Democracy is not a Technocracy!

To begin, it is important to realize that neither the Central Planners nor the Superintendents are “technocrats.” Let us develop an intimate understanding of what distinguishes a “Technocracy” from the kind of “Meritocracy” promoted by MTEP and the Work-Standard at large. A true Technocracy is a regime ruled by scientists and engineers, whose scientific expertise qualifies them as apolitical government officials. The political influence of scientists and engineers in any nation, be it a Parliamentary Democracy or a Council Democracy, grows during times of rapid technological progress and where the pressing challenges of the day are issues related to Technology itself. A Technocracy has very little to do with the political-economic achievements and talents of those who exercise power from the Council State.

The rise of technocrats in many countries, since the turn of the 21st century, has shown that most government officials lack the ability to direct the State of Total Mobilization toward more beneficial ends. The influence of these technocrats is readily apparent within Production for Profit and Production for Utility, albeit expressed in ways distinct to the two Modes of Production.

  • In Production for Profit, Technology is seen as ways of generating a greater Quantity of Kapital by eliminating Arbeit whilst trying to reduce the Quantity of Schuld. It is through the mentality of opposing Arbeit that there are justifications for letting Automation drive entire Professions into inexistence, causing those affected to become unemployed (or worse, underemployed). Where Automation becomes unnecessary, other Technologies may be considered because of their propensity for Kapital Accumulation.    
  • In Production for Utility, Technology is understood as needing to be ‘incentivized’ toward the Utility of the civil society. The basis in which any given Technology is judged according to their ‘usefulness’ or ‘uselessness’ also involves the elimination of Arbeit in favor of Kapital. But unlike Production for Profit, the justification is framed in terms of people having ‘fewer work-hours’ and overemphasizing Automation without realizing the possibility of having to do without it.   

It can be argued that because of the manners in which the first and second Modes of Production interpret Technology, the increased importance of technocrats becomes inevitable. Technology is treated not as a way to compliment the creation of Arbeit, but solely as a means of eliminating it in favor of Kapital. This leaves fewer opportunities for the Totality to adapt to the introductions of newer Technologies and develop mastery of them, forcing them to become dependent on the technocrats as an authoritative body. When the technocrats achieve prominent influence, as is the case in many Parliamentary Democracies, their political power rests in their technical expertise in controlling the Technologies themselves. The consequence is that if the technocrats manage to leave too much room for human error, their influence will wane as their legitimacy is questioned.     

Nowhere do we see this problem on full display than among Parliamentary Democracies, where it has become common since at least the 2010s for “Populists” to engage imaginary “Elitists.” The so-called “Elitists” are not necessarily Liberal Capitalists, insofar as the “Populists” themselves also share variations of the same Neoliberal Weltanschauung, but against the technocrats whose legitimacy is dependent on their expertise. These hostilities were heating up throughout the 2010s before finally boiling over during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Even as early as the first several months of the Coronavirus Pandemic, two narratives were being spun on the World Wide Web (WWW), spreading beyond the digital realm and into the physical realm that is the Real World. There was the technocrats’ grand narrative of trying to impose medical measures in a Jeffersonian world order which emphasized uncontrolled movement across international borders. And then there were the multiplicity of smaller narratives that promoted conspiracy theories, pseudoscience, and outright misinformation about the severity of the Pandemic and what is to be done about it. These smaller narratives, when reevaluated from hindsight, form a grand narrative of its own, one that sought to present criticism and distrust toward the legitimacy of the technocrats. There was little that could be done by the technocrats, apart from trying to dispel misconceptions and reasserting their expertise in order to defend their legitimacy.

If the technocrats are distinguished by how they treat Technology within the State of Total Mobilization, what can be said about the Council State’s Central Planners and Superintendents of the State Commissariats?             

What Kind of Candidates are needed?

The Central Planners and Superintendents are chosen based on a Meritocratic basis. A true Meritocracy is one where those in the position to govern are chosen on the basis of their merits. In essence, MTEP can only be as efficient and effective as the people who are in charge of its practical implementation as Central Planners and Superintendents. It takes more than just an education to aspire to such high-level government positions. Whoever gets selected for those positions has to have proven themselves in various social science fields related to the Legal Duties and Legal Rights of those Professions. A “social scientist,” such as an economist or a sociologist, is certainly not the same as somebody who is a physicist or a chemist. The purpose of the social sciences in the State of Total Mobilization is to develop a sophisticated understanding of the social interactions between the State, the Totality, and the Self. In the context of the two aforementioned Professions, that understanding how those three interact on economics and financial.

  • What is needed of Central Planners are excellent leadership and organizational skills, the ability to administrate strategic plans and delegate key decision-making to subordinate Economic Planners. Social skills are also needed for interacting with others across different Professions, including those who do not share the same educational background and skillset such as the Superintendents. They need to able to oversee any affair with an open mind and the ability to refrain from micromanaging every aspect of their subordinates’ activities. The Central Planners may come from different social science fields, but candidates who are of political, economic and financial education backgrounds would be ideal.
  • Speaking of the Superintendents, they too will need to demonstrate leadership and organizational skills, but they will also have to showcase their abilities in accounting and psychology, develop a familiarity with the legal jurisprudence of the Council State, and have good communication and negotiation skills. They have to be able to deal with all kinds of people from different Professions, including those who are still struggling to find their proper Vocations in Life and others who are debating among themselves about their Quality of Arbeit and Quality of Geld. They need to demonstrate the ability to act as the interlocutor, as somebody who tries not to take anyone’s side in any dispute, determined to be level-headed and reserved in their judgments. It is due to these specifications that candidates of legal and social backgrounds would be ideal.       

What I have just described are qualifications which are needed in those positions as part of MTEP. These qualifications reflect talents and skills which cannot always be honed within the workspace any more than they cannot always be mastered inside the classroom. Anyone who becomes either a Central Planner or a Superintendent has to have these abilities ready as soon as they begin the opening hours of the workweek. Anything less would be unsuitable for any serious applications of MTEP. This entails that the national educational system of the Socialist Nation has to be designed in such a way that future Central Planners and Superintendents are able to hone their skills, realize their talents, and unleash their fullest potential before they get assigned to their Vocations.

The idea here calls for a higher educational curriculum where candidates for Central Planner and Superintendent positions are given rigorous training as well as ample opportunities to think independently and act decisively. The curriculum in question should be designed to not only educate them about how to conduct themselves in those positions, but also have the training and skills necessary to masterfully perform them. It should split between classroom instruction and hands-on demonstrations of what has been learned in the workspace. Such a combination is impossible to fully realize in the Custodial-Care Function of any OECD-Type Student Economy. At best, a OECD-Type Student Economy’s universities will only isolate the candidates from valuable experiences in their Professions, restricting them to learning the basics and a lot of theoretical concepts whose practicality in the Real World deserves scrutiny at every opportunity.  

Meanwhile, the Socialist Student Economy (SSE) of the Socialist Nation, on the other hand, is in a much better position to fulfill those educational needs. The SSE has its own self-contained national economy that, while existing alongside the VCS Economy, is integrated enough to provide live simulations of Real World economic conditions but also insulated enough to prevent the VCS Economy from interfering with the educational curriculum. It also has a Student Government where Students interested in positions related to the central government or the political parties are able to train themselves. This Student Government is capable of facilitating the educational needs of those seeking to become candidates of the Central Planners or Superintendents. The recruitment of any new personnel for the State Commissariats and Ministry of Economics occurs directly in the SSE itself. If anyone from the State Commissariats or Ministry of Economics are interested in somebody and knows that they will be a suitable addition to their personnel, both are more than welcome to recruit that candidate.  

Given this important role of the SSE, it is now imperative that a serious discussion of the educational curriculum for Central Planners and Superintendents is order for the next half of this Entry. Doing so will provide a general idea about the SSE’s “Total Educational Effort” applies to the rest of the Student Body, whose educational curricula covers a broader range of Professions.

Categories: Third Place

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