Scenario 1999: Digitalizing Economic Governance Models

The past three Treatises, especially The Work-Standard (2nd Ed.) and The Third Place (1st Ed.), described four main Models of Economic Governance and a number of subvariants. Before any discussion about how to develop an understanding of economic life in the digital realm, it is necessary to review those Economic Governance Models first. Up until this point, this Author has been using the terms “Market/Mixed Economy” and “Planned/Command Economy” to demonstrate that they are two halves of a shared form of economic life. It is important to recall that the “Market Economy,” “Mixed Economy,” “Planned Economy,” and “Command Economy” under the Work-Standard are four different conceptions of a National Economy. Everything here is an expanded elaboration of the conclusions discussed in “Economic Governance Types and Economic Planning Models” from The Work-Standard (2nd Ed.), with the key difference being that the three Modes of Production are now made clearer.

Market/Mixed Economies and Planned/Command Economies

Market Economies denote economic governance types that correspond to Production for Profit. The Market, wielding the Incentives of Supply and Demand, exists as a separate Civil Society within the actual one that Parliament officially governs. Common and Private Properties-as-Wealth prevail insofar as anyone with enough Kapital and not enough Schuld could run and operate privatized commercial firms, borrow loans from privatized commercial banks, and issue LCFIs on Financial Markets. Everything is geared toward “the greatest Quantity of Kapital for the least Quantity of Schuld.” The Market relies on Parliament to steer the direction of all economic life through a delicate combination of fiscal, monetary, trade, educational and social policies. Outside of its role as the Market’s protectorate and regulator, Parliament is a non-participant in economic life. Unlike Mixed Economies, true Market Economies do not fully exhibit Production for Utility characteristics. When they do, it is either a partial or temporary effort.   

Mixed Economies are capable of fulfilling a combination of Production for Profit and Production for Utility. The Market still exists and all the usual features associated with Market Economies are also present. However, Mixed Economies tend to feature Parliament performing a direct role in economic life that goes beyond being the Market’s protectorate and regulator. Parliament may own and operate nationalized economic organizations, support the true Civil Society with Welfare Capitalist initiatives, and mitigate the worst excesses of the Market. Low-tier Mixed Economies are pivoted toward Production for Profit, whereas the higher ones are focused more on Production for Utility. The best examples of Mixed Economies tended to be Social-Democratic, Social Corporatist, and State Capitalist. Social-Democracies are a special case; despite emphasizing Production for Utility, their policies eventually return to Production for Profit because their foundational goals are to make Neoliberalism more tolerable.

Planned Economies and Command Economies, meanwhile, could only be either Production for Utility or Production for Dasein. Any attempts to push for Production for Profit will cause them to become Mixed Economies. In Production for Utility, the longstanding challenge has been whether to compromise with Production for Profit through some form of Economic Liberalization or provide greater roles for Automation. Either enough compromises were made to restore the Market or there is none to speak of.

By contrast, in Production for Dasein, the distinction between Planned Economies and Command Economies will be based on the Authentic Dasein of the National Economy itself. Rather than tolerating the absence of the Market, not to mention Kapital and Schuld, the alternative has been to promote a more appropriate national institution called the Tournament. The goal of economic life is the greatest Quality of Arbeit for the least Quality of Geld. It is also here where distinctions are made between how the economic life of a given nation interacts with its political life and vice versa. But regardless of whether Planned Economies and Command Economies are operating on Production for Utility or Production for Dasein, one thing is certain: economic life is governed by a State that wields the Intents of Command and Obedience.

Syndicalist, Corporatist and a few State Capitalist Economic Governance Models fall under the spectrum of Planned Economies. Syndicalist and Corporatist governments lack the characteristics of Council Democracy, including the stratified, hierarchical socioeconomic distinctions between the State, the Totality, and the Self. Rather than a Totality, the Corporate State and the Self coexists with Organized Labor and the Business Community. Since the political process dose not begin in the workspace, the Corporate State must directly resolve disputes between Organized Labor and the Business Community. Agreements are to be struck and compromises are to be brokered. The Self, under these circumstances, may align themselves with Organized Labor, the Business Community or the Corporate State. If the Corporate State cannot break their stalemate, then enough Selves will by switching alignments between the Business Community and Organized Labor. Thus, economic planning plays a smaller role here than in Command Economies.    

The vast majority of Socialist nations, be they Scientific or Artistic, are Command Economies. Economic planning has a larger role within economic life because of the fact that the political process is supposed to begin in the workspace. Council Democracy facilitates an organized, stratified command structure where economic life and political life are closely intertwined with each other. People choose their Delegates who will govern on their behalf in both political life and economic life because what happens in economic life eventually affects the political life.  Rather than “a Civil Society within a Civil Society” like in the Market/Mixed Economies or “Business Community and Organized Labor” as in Planned Economies, Command Economies have “Oneself and the Nation.” Unlike Planned Economies, the great challenge confronting Command Economies in Production for Dasein concerns how to properly master the distinctive musical fugue of Council Democracy, seeing how Parliamentary Democracy in Production for Profit and Production for Utility already has its own musical fugue.    

This challenge becomes even more pressing in the world order of Scenario 1999, as the rise of National Intranets among the Americans, Germanics, Soviets, Chinese and Imperial Japanese have led to questions over the emergence of an International Internet. What are the roles of the Student Economies? How shall their Digital Economies be integrated into their respective Tournaments? Will the rise of the National Intranets and the International Internet by extension lead to mass unemployment and loss of productivity across the Natural, Manufacturing and Service Sectors, as more Students graduate from secondary schools to study Computer Science, Computer Programming, Video Game Design, and other Professions that have the most to gain from Digital Economies?  

“Student Economy,” “National Economy,” “Digital Economy?”

The National Intranet offers a number of promising implications for the great powers of Scenario 1999. Backed by Council Democracy, the National Intranet encourages every Totality greater political-economic participation in the affairs of their State. Even though all economic and financial activities are conducted with Sociable Currencies pegged to the Work-Standard, there are many people with too much to lose and others with too much to gain from the National Intranet. These pressures also result in the need to digitalize the political process of Council Democracy to ensure that the Legal Codes and Constitutions of every nation will continue to be upheld on the National Intranet.

The Civil Servants and Administrators of every State and Social Enterprise, regardless of size, locality and capabilities, will be able to develop and carry out their own economic plans within the legal framework of the Central Plan outlined in their nations’ Constitutions. Consequently, the Economic Planner and their superior, the Central Planner, are fearful of the future of their positions in economic life. They believe that their positions in the Social Ranking System will cease to exist because the National Intranet, if bolstered by Social Media platforms supporting offline economic activities, could allow anyone to achieve mastery of economic planning. Should present trends continue into the 21st century, a university education may no longer be required for anyone to become an Economic Planner or even a Central Planner.

Their social anxieties are also shared by others employed in the Manufacturing and Services Sectors, who worry about their potential losses in Qualities of Arbeit and Geld. Meanwhile, Retail Industries view the rise of eCommerce as infringing on their role of overseeing the transactional sales of most everyday goods and services in the Tournaments. The National Intranet is capable of facilitating eCommerce, resulting in losses of Actual Geld from transactional sales. Moreover, the existing positions of Enterprises in the Retail Industry will fall, and there will be fewer Intents in the Services Sector for contributions of Actual Arbeit and Actual Geld conducting the transactional sales of the Tournaments.

These concerns are echoed by similar ones among well-established Enterprises from the Manufacturing Sector, warning about the possibility of 3D Printing and Automation causing entire industrial parks of manufactories to shut down in favor of smaller Workshops where most of the Actual Arbeit is coming from mechanized machinery running on the latest computer hardware and software programs. Another social anxiety emanating from the Manufacturing Sector pertain to the recent introductions of pager, cellphone, PDAs (Personal Digital Assistant), CDs and MP3 players, VHS tapes and DVDs. All of those technologies became widespread between the late 1980s and early 1990s. All of them are now at risk of becoming redundant and eliminated by the new “smartphone,” resulting in the eliminations of countless different Enterprises dedicated to the production of the affected technologies.   

Spearheading the push for the National Intranet and the Digital Economy that it will establish are the young people who constitute as the Student Bodies of the SSEs. With the vast majority of its proponents attending or graduating from universities as of 1999, they and the Student Governments are convinced that the National Intranets and the International Internet will pave the way for the next major steps away from Neoliberalism. The more ambitious Students insist that their Vocations are not in the manufacturing of computer hardware and smartphones but in the development of software like video games, digital applications, and website design.

Perhaps more puzzling than the idea of the National Intranet creating a Digital Economy is the idea of the Digital Economy creating “Virtual Economies.” Once the digital infrastructure and information technologies become sophisticated enough for the Totalities of different nations to log on to their National Intranets, Student Governments are anticipating the creation of Arbeit and Geld from these “Virtual Economies.” A Virtual Economy creates Arbeit and Geld from the development, operation and maintenance of websites, message boards, video streaming, filesharing, email services, and other digital activities outside the Domains of eCommerce and Social Media within the Work-World. Whosoever purchases a website from the State should expect to receive the same Legal Rights and Legal Duties as they usually would with offline land and buildings.      

Vocational Civil Service in the Digital Realm?

All of the above information is socioeconomic and technological issues that demand political answers from both the Totality and the State within a functioning Council Democracy. The VCS Economy functions as the extension of the Totality and the State insofar as they constitute themselves as a Nation. Some of the responses to these trends have been addressed in earlier Entries from The Third Place (1st Ed.) and, to a lesser extent, The Work-Standard (2nd Ed.).

The realization of the National Intranet and the International Internet by extension signals humanity’s newfound ability to tap into the Noösphere. The presence of the digital realm signals a reformation of how economic planning is conducted among nations. New types of economic planning must be envisaged.  No longer can it be the crude, rudimentary practice of bureaucracies outlining goals every four or five years. The Central Planner’s Figure changes from that of a bureaucrat to the more appropriate magistrate responsible for the actions of their subordinate Economic Planners. This was part of the Intent behind why the State Commissariats of Wages and Prices are more likely to resemble the proceedings of a judicial courtroom than the directives of a government office.

Neither Social Media and eCommerce nor Automation and 3D Printing will be allowed to fully supplant their offline equivalents, namely Student Media, State Media, the Manufacturing and Services Sectors. The State Commissariats will be expected to redefine the parameters of Actual Arbeit and Actual Geld to ensure that the introductions of Digital Arbeit and Digital Geld will cause the least disturbances. This also means determining Digital Arbeit and Digital Geld’s relation to Actual Arbeit and Actual Geld in the LERE Process, once the State Council and the Head of State have made their decisions.   

Meanwhile, it is vital for the political processes of Council Democracy to raise an important policy issue regarding the introductions of “disruptive technologies.” The concerns should not just be economic or technological. The rest of the Totality, not just the people affected by those “disruptive technologies,” should be contributing to the discussion in preparation for the new millennium. This marks the beginnings of Scenario 1999’s version of Y2K, except this one has actual implications for the rest of the 21st century and beyond.   

Categories: Digital Realm

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