Automation and Economic Planning (Pt. I of II)

Various Entries in The Third Place (1st Ed.) were devoted to describing three Modes of Production that are relevant to understanding how the Work-Standard will function if implemented in practice. Those three were designated as Production for Profit, Production for Utility, and Production for Dasein. The dynamics between Production for Profit and Production for Utility are governed by the interplay between Kapital and Schuld under the Incentives of Supply and Demand. Both assumed their contemporary forms in the early half of the previous century.  

Production for Profit involves the transfer of Kapital and Schuld between Firms and Customers within a “Market.” The Firm earns a Profit by selling a good or service to the Customer for Kapital.  Schuld occurs when the Firm earns less Kapital or when the Customer spends more Kapital. The Market operates independently from the Parliament, whose sole role is to ensure that the Firm and the Customer act in good faith.

Meanwhile, Production for Utility has the Parliament acting as a conduit of Kapital and Schuld between the Firm and the Customer. The Parliament, through a combination of fiscal and monetary policies, provides Kapital to a Firm tasked with providing a good or service to the Customer. The Firm receives its Utility from the Kapital they receive from Parliament, while the Customer receives their Utility from the Schuld they give to the Parliament.

Most Liberal Capitalist regimes employ varying degrees of Production for Profit and Production for Utility within their economic activities. There are certain economic activities where the Market plays a greater role in the interactions between the Firm and the Customer. In other economic activities, the Parliament oversee the interactions between Firm and Customer. The most explicit expression of the dynamics shared by both Modes of Production in the interplay between Kapital and Schuld under the Incentives of Supply and Demand is Social-Democracy.

In a Social-Democracy, the Parliament acts as the immediate between the Firm and the Customer. There is a constant balancing act between Production for Profit and Production for Utility. Economic activities known to promote the Utility of the Civil Society should be done by the Parliament. Economic activities that promote the Utility of the Private Citizen should be done by the Market. The result is a greater emphasis on Production for Utility.

Outside of Social-Democracy, Liberal Capitalist regimes prioritize on Production for Profit by default, reserving Production for Utility for the more exceptional economic activities. Those exceptions usually include rare mineral extraction, energy production, electricity, water and wastewater treatment, national highways, military-industrial complexes, railways, airlines, postal services, and banks. These economic activities, because they tend to be unprofitable or uncompetitive, tend to be brought under the oversight of Parliament.  

And for ideologies opposed to Neoliberalism, most Corporatist and Socialist national economies have tended toward a Planned/Command Economy as opposed to a Market/Mixed Economy. They tried to break away from the dynamics of Production for Profit and Production for Utility, only to end up halfway between Production for Utility and the third Mode of Production. To break away from those two Modes of Production, economic planning and an alternative to the market were needed. The nations that did not collapse have had to make compromises with Production for Profit as well as Production for Utility. The most well-known example is the “Birdcage Economy” where a separate Market/Mixed Economy exists to support the aims of a Planned/Command Economy.

This brings us to the third Mode of Production, Production for Dasein, whose realization was made possible by the Work-Standard. The interplay between Kapital and Schuld is replaced by an opposing one defined by Arbeit and Geld. Instead of the Incentives of Supply and Demand, the Intents of Command and Obedience are employed. It is also through the Work-Standard that we encounter Production for Dasein’s Tournament and MTEP (Mission-Type Economic Planning). But what makes the Tournament different from the Market, MTEP from STEP (Soviet-Type Economic Planning)?

In essence, MTEP is an economic application of Auftragstaktik (Mission-Type Tactics). Here, the Central Plan is formatted as a long-term set of qualifiable strategic goals, generalized enough so as to be applicable to the SSE, the VCS Economy, the Reciprocal-Reserve Banking System, the Council State, and the National Intranet. There are no quantifiable targets, quotas, percentages, and figures that need to be met within a set timeframe. Everyone has the freedom of action to realize those strategic goals as they apply to their Vocations, Professions, and Enterprises. The everyday roles of economic planning are delegated to Economic Planners, a retinue of Accountants, and the Inspectors, whose actions are held accountable to the Council Democratic process vis-à-vis the State Commissariats of Wages and Prices. This leaves the Central Planners to focus more on the administrative functions of the Council State at the Ministry of Economics.

One notable expression of MTEP is the issuance of the Work-Plan, a National Socialized Financial Instrument (NSFI) that eliminates the need for Bonds. Its Value pegged to the Central Plan, the Kontore issue Work-Plans involves as assignment or task related to the Central Plan that needs to be carried out by a Vocation, a Profession, or an Enterprise. The recipient, by contributing more of their Actual Arbeit to the Life-Energy Reserve, will be able to cash in their Work-Plan for a large sum of Actual Geld once the NSFI passes its Maturity Date.

A Central Planner, when they are not planning for the future, oversees the largest Enterprises (which are oftentimes SAEs and SOEs) and strategic matters that could affect the LER and LERE Processes. In the case of the former, a Central Planner will have their seat in the executive boardrooms of an SAE or SOE at the behest of the Ministry of Economics, working alongside a Superintendent tasked with resolving disputes between administrators and civil servants. In the latter, if there are any internal issues that involve their subordinates, the Economic Planners and their retinues of Accountants, a Central Planner must intervene and resolve those issues with their Superintendent counterparts at the State Commissariats.

There is a level of coordination between the Central Planners and the Superintendents on economic and financial matters that concern the LER and LERE Processes. The Economic Planners and the Accountants preside over the creations of Arbeit and Geld among Enterprises and Professions. The State Commissars and Inspectors ensure that the rules and regulations governing the creations of Arbeit and Geld are observed by everyone in the Tournament. Other Central Planners are studying the latest trends in the Work-World and analyzing the overall performance of the Tournament.    

The Work-World refers to the present extent of all economic activities done by the Totality, State, and the Self. There are economic activities attached to a Domain and is creating Arbeit and Geld for the Life-Energy Reserve. All Vocations, Professions, Enterprises, Industries and Economic Sectors are affiliated with a Domain, creating Arbeit and Geld for the Life-Energy Reserve and participating in the Tournament. The advent of new Technologies will yield the appearances of new Domains or the disappearances of older ones. Central Planners must evaluate those Technologies, ensure their rapid deployment, and open new sources of Arbeit and Geld by establishing Domains. This includes coordinating the efforts of the Central Bank to maintain its Mechanization Rate as one of the Council State’s monetary policies.

The Tournament is where the Central Planners are tasked with assessing the performance of Enterprises in relation to the rest of their Industry. Entire Industries of Enterprises compete in the Tournament to achieve the highest Quality of Arbeit for the least Quality of Geld. A Social Rank is to be assigned to every Enterprise based on their Quality of Arbeit and Quality of Geld. Attaining a higher Social Rank confers the recipient Enterprise a greater role in the affairs of their Industry, from deciding how their Industry should implement the Central Plan to whether they have the power to lead the lesser and weaker Enterprises.  

All the problems of economic planning, which have often been associated with nations copying aspects of STEP without rectifying its genuine flaws, can be traced back to the antithesis of Auftragstaktik, Befehlstaktik (Command-Type Tactics). In Befehlstaktik, the Central Planners are expected to dictate every aspect of economic activities, from the means to achieve the goal to how that same goal is to be achieved. The problems of Befehlstaktik can also be inferred from the flaws of STEP. Central Planners cannot focus on long-term goals, the national economy is unable to demonstrate leadership capabilities whilst still working within the framework of a Central Plan.   

The evidence for this lies in how STEP had struggled to bring the Work-World and the Tournament into its organizational framework. Most historical applications of STEP saw Central Planners incognizant of economic activities outside the Domains of the Work-World. This was made apparent in the appearances of an Informal Economy, whose economic activities existed in the Work-World but unattached to any Domain, and the black markets that were neither attached to a Domain nor operating anything within the socioeconomic parameters of the Work-World. The purpose of this extensive discussion of MTEP and Production for Dasein is to reevaluate my discussions of them in response a proposal that has been forwarded in recent years. Given the ongoing technological developments in Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and other information technologies, a small body of literature exists to determine the possibility of Automation reintroducing economic planning on a grand scale. While Automation is capable of helping the Work-Standard realize its concept of the Mechanization Rate as an alternative to the Interest Rate, it is questionable to expect Artificial Intelligence and advanced computing technologies to yield an entirely new form of economic planning. It might resolve some of the quantitative calculations that have plagued Central Planners relying on some variation of STEP,

Categories: Compendium

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