Francis Spufford on the Revival of the Planned Economy in the Algorithmic Age

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Michel Bauwens:

I can warmly recommend reading the faction novel Red Plenty, about the invention of the internet in Soviet Russia and why this attempt at more democratic coordination was killed off. This is an interview of author Francis Spufford, and how the new algorithmic economy is reviving interest in economic planning:

  • "Comrades, Let's Optimize!" The Surprising Rebirth of the Planned Economy

"When Francis Spufford wrote Red Plenty, his celebrated novel about Soviet economic planning, he couldn't have anticipated the reaction. Some saw it as a parable of the problems of capitalism after the financial crisis, others as an elegant demonstration in fictional form that capitalism never had any real alternative. Still others read it as a license to revive the dream of the planned economy. Were the vast economic apparatuses of Amazon and Walmart actually a blueprint for how to do socialism at scale? Now, as Silicon Valley tries to rebuild the economy around optimizing algorithms and AGI, old debates over markets and planning are opening up again. In this conversation, Henry Farrell interviews Spufford about the old dream of socialist optimization and the new debates that have arisen since."