The Command Economy by Tj O’Connor

Review

TJ O’Connor‘s ‘The Command Economy’ is a well presented and educational introduction to central planning and Marxist economics. The author successfully manages to present the fairly dry discipline of Marxist economics in a manner that is readable and understandable to the non-academic.

Introduction

The Command Economy’s introduction section gives an overview of the benefits of a planned economy:

“A central planner can achieve an economy that is more efficient, more just and with faster growth than the free market with the correct information and computation 

Without going into the often confusing competing interpretations of the Soviet system within wider Marxism, the author simplifies the subject for the reader by pointing out that that the Command Economy has been the only real alternative to the Capitalist economic system:

“An important and defining feature of the USSR that has often been neglected in favour of political critiques and sectarian point scoring, is the command economy that it operated on. This remains the only alternative economic model to the market to be practised on a large-scale and for much of its history was remarkably effective”

 

The Workings Of The Command Economy And It’s Flaws

The author then analyses the workings of the command economy and its flaws, notably inadequate politicisation and information. Concrete examples of logistical flaws in the production of commodities within the Soviet system and how they therefore were unable to develop high tech industries, are given in a highly readable, understandable manner. With examples of central planning difficulties that effected both Cuba and the USSR:

“The biggest failure of the command economy has been in farming. Even after largely phasing out small peasant plots, and collectivizing much of Soviet agriculture, the economy continued to depend on those small private plots for much of the country’s food. This was partially because of the ham-handed and crude way collectivization was implemented from above, also because the peasants who were the most successful tended to often (but not always, of course) resist collectivization, and also because infrastructure to deliver goods to market often lagged behind..”

 

 The Benefits of The Planned Economy

TJ O’Connor in the third section of ‘The Planned Economy’ accurately specifies examples of a state-controlled economy’s multiple benefits using the Cuban, the Peoples Republic of China and the USSR. Included in this section is a quote from Che Guevara’s speech to the Inter-American Economic and Social Council in 1961. Guevara outlined the immediate benefits from the nationalisation of the economy as the starting point in building a Socialist society in Cuba, where previously it had been the international brothel of imperialism:

“In all these areas we carried out a revolution, and we also carried out a true revolution in education, culture, and health care. This year illiteracy will be eliminated in Cuba.”

Quite clearly, the command economy addresses human need in a way that would be impossible in a free market economy. In essence, the command economy utilising the current advances in technology etc has more chance of succeeding now than previously.

 

The Command Economy Will Succeed in The Future

TJ O’Connor’s final section in The Planned Economy acknowledges the limitations of previous attempts at implementing a Socialist economy in the likes of the USSR where circumstances beyond their control frustrated their success. The stark choices faced by the USSR following the unsuccessful Socialist revolutions elsewhere, the zero option of ‘Socialism in one country’ and the massive economic leap that the fledgling Socialist state had to make from Feudalism are explored. The author makes the final point that a planned economy in this era, harnessing all the resources of previous Capitalist production can and will succeed.

About The Author

TJ O’Connor is a senior member of the Irish Republican Socialist Committees of North America (IRSCNA), the Irish Republican Socialist Movement’s representative body in the USA and Canada.  TJ has been a lifelong political activist, not limited to Irish/American issues but to revolutionary socialist campaigns and issues effecting the working-class in North America   The Planned Economy by TJ O’Connor is available to read in it’s entirety on Google Documents or by contacting the author directly via the IRSCNA website contact form. The Command Economy is an excellent and educational introduction to the dynamics of Socialist economics.

http://www.irsp.ie/irscna.html

Alex Mcguigan

 

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3 Responses to “The Command Economy by Tj O’Connor”

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