Democratic control of the economy

There are those who argue for democratic control of the economy – it’s often used as a synonym for socialism. It’s just occurred to me that they are in fact arguing for the decision process over which cars are to be made, by whom, in what quantity and at whichever price be subject to the same process which made Donald Trump President. This does not strike me as a good idea and it surprises me that it doesn’t strike them the same way.

23 thoughts on “Democratic control of the economy”

  1. They are using the word ‘democratic’ in the sense it was used in the German Democratic Republic. It is a complete inversion of its actual meaning and what they want is State control.

  2. The democratic process which made Donald Trump President was the wrong sort of democracy. Report to a camp for re-education.

  3. @Rob

    ” It is a complete inversion of its actual meaning and what they want is State control.”

    Their argument is that the people choose the state (!) and therefore the control is indirect.

    I had a similar thought to Tim’s when I was driving into work on the motorway. All these individual actors, making their own decisions (based on self interest) and the whole bloody thing works. Who’d mandate state control*, beyond that of the highway code? And that’s just people driving somewhere.

    Why would anyone think a whole economy could work better with an overlord micromanaging every last little production decision?

    *note- I am unaware of any improvements to the user experience occasioned by the recent smart upgrade to the M3.

  4. Democratic control/socialism?

    No debate with them–just tell them to fuck off.

    And frankly it is increasingly time an “or else” was added on the end.

  5. No, if you speak to Socialists they really imagine that the workers can decide. That’s why Communists say the state will “wither away” from the interim phase.

    You can argue. Suppose factory A wants to produce 1M widgets that no one wants. Is that okay? They will respond – that will never happen in a society where people co-operate.

    Magic see.

  6. Sixty or so years ago when I proudly owned a 1934 Austin 7 it was my view that in a planned society who would need a car better than this, save for specialist socially useful functions? Indeed in a planned society every family would have one and they would last sixty years. Now I am not quite so sure.

  7. You introduced me to Kip’s Law.

    Namely “The people demanding central planning always, always, believe that they’ll be the one’s doing the planning.”

  8. ‘Democratic control’ to the Left means ‘You will all do as I and my pals with the guns say’. As shown by their reaction to Brexit and Trump, they have no like or consideration for actual democracy. All the Left’s political nostrums and ‘principles’ are all lies to further their true ultimate goal – power over everyone else for eternity.

  9. The ever excellent Rob

    ‘They are using the word ‘democratic’ in the sense it was used in the German Democratic Republic. It is a complete inversion of its actual meaning and what they want is State control.’

    Indeed, and the official title of the closest real world state to Murphy’s vision is the ‘Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’. The goal is indeed total state control of all aspects of economic life. What’s entertaining is he thinks his ideas are novel when they would be familiar to anyone with a background in the history of the Soviet Union or Communist China.

  10. Slightly O/T but, given “control” etc, this caught my eye:

    “In America, it is the mother of a newborn baby, not social workers, who makes the ultimate decision as to who adopts her child.”

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/2017/09/we-had-so-much-to-offer-a-vulnerable-child-but-were-too-indian-to-adopt/

    Yet again, the state plays the Nazi (Fascist / Socialist / God / whatever you want to call it).

    Is there any way back to any sort of decent normality for this country?

  11. @ Tim
    I wonder if you have heard rather than read the word?
    Democratic control of the economy – as in California where the people vote for more spending but against tax increases? Or in Switzerland where the majority of voters consistently vote down the snowflakes?
    Or “Democratic” in that only the party of Clinton & Obama is allowed to make decisions on the economy?

  12. “You can argue. Suppose factory A wants to produce 1M widgets that no one wants. Is that okay? They will respond – that will never happen in a society where people co-operate.”

    But that kind of shit did happen all over the comblock.

    A friend of mine who does a bit of legit arms dealing went to East Germany post unification to look at some hardware. They went to the location and were taken to a shed absolutely full of PTRS-41’s, made in East Germany post-WW2. Absolutely thousands of them, possibly tens of thousands.

    When asked why they’d built zillions of obsolete antitank rifles with no conceivable use, the answer was “the Russians told us to”.

    Nuff said.

  13. >abacab

    Absolutely – hence the word Magic in the original. Nonetheless this is what many on the left believe.

    Not all though. As I’ve got older I’ve realised that a significant chunk of the left understand this is purely about power – and they want it.

  14. Even the Lib-Dems are appalling paernalist central planners. I baited the local group online recently about devolving powers to Local Authorities – e.g. why should Newcastle with its greater population have more power then Hartlepool on whether smoking should be permitted in Hartlepool’s non-food pub and clubs. ( or consumption of cannabis, paid sex etc )
    “Oh, we don’t want a free for all, it would be chaos”, they reply.

  15. Timmy –

    The whole point of socialism is to disenfranchise those who don’t go along with the program of socialism. The last thing cunts like Paul Krugman and Joe Stiglitz want is for people like you and I deciding things. What they want is a “democracy” tailored so that only they and their technocratic friends run the show. In the final analysis, isn’t that what Lester Thurow’s “Third Way” all about?

  16. Two thoughts:
    first my usual one, reword the sentence as “democratic control over the weather” as a check to see if it makes sense.
    second: democratic control of the economy? Isn’t that “the market”?

  17. When asked why they’d built zillions of obsolete antitank rifles with no conceivable use, the answer was “the Russians told us to”.

    The only incentive manufacturers or factories have under planned economies are quotas that must be met. Missing said quota can have extremely serious consequences for the people who run the factory – labour camp or bullet in the head serious.

    So, what is the best way of meeting a quota? Make sure you overfullfill it of course! If the warehouse ends up with thousands of unwanted goods slowly rusting away, then too bad.

    As a way of efficiently allocating scare resources (or economics, as it is sometimes called), planned economies are a tiny bit better than completely random, but otherwise completely shambolic.

  18. It’s simply a reassertion of the desire for the governing class to own everything of importance and dictate what gets done.
    Given that “democratic control” means “giving it to the politicians”, and the politicians are now the modern governing class (under our electoral system, we skillfully moved from “Control by the old governing class” to “Control by the new governing class, split into two factions”), in what way is anything nationalised “owned” or “controlled” by the people?

    How many people would genuinely puzzle over who to vote for based on the current performance of British Leyland? Or whether British Sugar was doing the right thing? And even if a few (very few) did, the feedback mechanism is incredibly clumsy and slow – you have to eject the entire Government if you want to express dissatisfaction with the latest Austin Allegro, or with waiting two weeks to get your phone line installed. And you can do so once every five years or so…

    The entire “It’s publicly owned” claim (it’s owned by the Government and the Government was elected by the public from a cast of two, one of which is usually too implausible to elect…) does smack to me of Hacker’s argument in Yes Prime Minister over stopping the BBC broadcasting something:
    “They will only agree if it’s in the public interest, Prime Minister”
    — “Well, it’s in MY interest, and I was elected by the public, so it’s in the public interest!”

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