End of Capital and the Transition to Socialism

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* Book: Information Technology and Socialist Construction: The End of Capital and the Transition to Socialism. By Daniel E Saros.


"this book explains why networked software will be required to coordinate a socialist economic system. And such software is becoming available."


Evgeny Morozov:

"Why insist on central planning, when a more decentralized, automated and apparatchik-free alternative might be achievable by putting the digital feedback infrastructure to work? The most ambitious effort to sketch what such an alternative might look like—think ‘guild socialism’ in the era of Big Data—was undertaken by the American radical economist Daniel Saros, in his rigorous, lucid—and unjustly neglected—Information Technology and Socialist Construction.

"Saros’s plan has some gaps and omissions, and the level of technological power available in 2019 is much greater than it was even five years ago. Still, the book’s overall vision provides inspiration and encouragement to those searching for alternative ways of coordinating economic activity on a large scale. After an exhaustive summary of the positions taken in the Socialist Calculation Debate, Saros contends that the socialist economists couldn’t envision a superior, more decentralized form of planning simply because the technology at their disposal was inadequate. The technology he has in mind, though, is not the kind used for solving equations or crunching numbers for the Central Planning Board, but one that powers the sort of ‘feedback infrastructure’ described earlier." (https://newleftreview.org/issues/II116/articles/evgeny-morozov-digital-socialism)


Bob Haugen:

"“Chapter 8 describes the meaning of communism. The socialist/communist distinction may be thought of as the lower and higher phases of communism, respectively. In chapter 8, I explain that communism operates in a manner that is similar to socialism. The key difference is that, even though people must work to access needs profiles in a communist society, they do not receive credits for their work. Instead, the points from their registered needs are used to distribute use values at retail outlets when those use values must be rationed. It is the same mechanism as is used to distribute inputs in a socialist (and communist) society. It is consistent with ‘from each according to his/her ability, to each according to his/her need’ because now points (needs) are used to determined the distribution of use values.”

The Process

Summary by Bob Haugen, on Chapter 7:

"Worker Councils post Finished Goods offers into a General Catalog of use values.

People select use values from the General Catalog and add quantities and priority numbers (where higher priorities are higher numbers) and post them in their Needs Profile.

The Needs Profiles are converted into points per use value based on quantities of needs and priority ratings per offered use value. Points are computed by multiplying the quantity * priority for each use value in each profile, and sum the points for a given use value across all profiles. At the end of that computation, each use value has a point score. Saros recently published A Simulation of the Point Allocation System that goes into gory details.

Production Input Worker Councils also post Production Input offers into the General Catalog.

Finished Goods producing Worker Councils figure out Production Input needs for those use values.

Science Councils set the limits of ecosystem effects of Production Input needs.

Production Worker Councils allocate points for Production Inputs.

All Worker Councils post their Labor Power needs to an Employment Subcommittee. Workers apply for open Labor Power needs.

Workers work on production processes and earn Credits. Workers also earn credits for administrative, household, and care work. Students get credit for schoolwork.

Workers (and remember schoolwork counts) exchange credits for use values. Prices are set by Worker Councils and are aimed at clearing all the produced goods, not making money. Credits received for use values disappear, they are not business income. Thus no M->C->M' (money->commodities->more money (profit)) cycle."


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